Nurses this morning recorded the year’s highest number of patients waiting on trolleys or in wards in Ireland’s hospitals.
Figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) show that 631 admitted patients were waiting for beds this morning.
The figures included 465 people on trolleys in the emergency departments and 166 patients waiting in other hospital wards.
— Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (@INMO_IRL) April 9, 2019
The Labour Party health spokesperson Alan Kelly said the figures are “completely unacceptable.”
“We are now near the middle of April, the worst of the winter flu crisis is over, but yet 631 people are on trolleys today,” he said.
“It is a sad state of affairs that these types of figures are not shocking people anymore.
“Excessive trolley numbers like these are not acceptable to patients, their families or those who have to work in these conditions.”
The worst overcrowding was recorded at University Hospital Limerick – where 55 patients were waiting for a bed.
Meanwhile 50 patients were waiting at Sligo University Hospital and 42 were waiting at Cork University Hospital.
Sinn Féin health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly said the figures have been “steadily increasing week-on-week” throughout the year.
“This Minister for Health and the government will tell us that this problem cannot be fixed overnight – but they have had eight years to address this situation and they have failed miserably,” she said.
“In the last decade, there has been a decrease of over 1,100 beds in our hospitals – mainly due to a lack of nurses and doctors to staff them.”
Recruitment and retention
She said the HSE must be given the resources to recruit the required staff to reopen the beds.
“Unless this government addresses the recruitment and retention crisis affecting our nurses and doctors, these beds won’t be opened,” she said.
“Yet only this week we had the Minister for Health threatening to suspend recruitment of staff and to ban overtime.
“In any other walk of life if someone was this bad at their job they would be gone; however, under this government and with the support of Fianna Fáil, failure in public office is accepted and defended to the hilt.”