December 9, 2023

‘A national emergency’ – INMO warning as 38 patients on tolleys at Kilkenny hospital

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has called for “a national emergency” to be declared as it confirmed the highest numbers of patients on trolleys since the beginning of the pandemic.

A total of 660 patients are without a bed in Irish hospitals today – including 38 at Kilkenny’s main hospital.

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “We have seen a 15% increase of patients on trolleys in the last 24 hours with 660 patients for whom there are no beds.

“The Minister for Health needs to intervene and declare this trolley chaos for what it is – a national emergency.

“A range of measures must be taken now in the short to medium term including the curtailment of all non-emergency, elective care and the reintroduction of mask wearing in crowded and indoor settings.

“As of this morning, 7,753 patients have been without a bed in our hospitals since the mask requirement was dropped on February 28th. ESRI research published today shows that two-thirds of people are still wearing masks on public transport and when shopping. If we could increase this number through a re-introduction of mask wearing, it would help ease transmission numbers.”

Ms Ní Sheaghdha said nurses are “burnt out and exhausted,” adding: “We can’t expect them to be able to provide safe care in environments that are overcrowded while dealing with a highly transmissible airborne virus.”

St Luke’s General Hospital in Kilkenny is experiencing one of the highest levels of overcrowding in the country today.

It reported the sixth highest level of overcrowding in the country, with 38 patients left waiting for a bed this morning, the majority (27) being in the A&E ward.

University Hospital Limerick (84) recorded the highest number of patients on trolleys by far, followed by Letterkenny University Hospital (61), St Vincent’s University Hospital (58), Cork University Hospital (49) and Sligo University Hospital (46).

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