November 30, 2022

Worst day on record for hospital overcrowding, record numbers treated on trolleys in Kilkenny last year

Today has been the worst-ever day for trolley overcrowding since records began.

Figures published today reveal 760 admitted patients were left without beds in Ireland’s hospitals this morning.

Locally, 32 patients were treated on trolleys at St Luke’s General Hospital this morning. Fifteen patients are on trolleys at the A&E department, with a further 17 waiting for beds in other hospital wards.

The figures released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) reveal the number of patients on trolleys nationwide today would more than fill the largest hospital in the State, St James (707 beds).

The previous worst day for overcrowding was March 12, 2018 during the so-called ‘Beast from the East’ weather phenonemon when 714 patients were left without beds.

University Hospital Limerick (UHL) has also broken the daily record for an individual hospital, with 92 patients on trolleys. The previous highest figure was 82, also in UHL.

Meanwhile, INMO trolley figures for 2019 reveal last year was the worst-ever for hospital overcrowding since records began – some 9% higher than 2018.

Record numbers of patients were also treated on trolleys at St Luke’s last year.

A total of 4,052 patients were left without a bed at our local hospital last year, a slight increase of 23 on the figure recorded in 2018.

The regional hospital at University Hospital Waterford was the fifth worst hospital on the country for overcrowding, behind University Hospital Limerick (13,941), Cork University Hospital (11,066), University Hospital Galway (7,993) and South Tipperary General Hospital (6,942).

The INMO said understaffing and a lack of capacity are the key factor driving overcrowding on our hospitals. There are 411 fewer inpatient beds in Ireland’s hospitals today than a decade ago, despite a larger, older population.

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha warned: “Things are getting worse, not better. These figures should be falling, but we’re going the wrong direction. 2019 saw thousands more patients without proper beds – often at one of the most vulnerable points in their lives.

“Overcrowding used to be a winter problem. Now it’s an all-year problem, which gets worse in winter.

“2020 should be a year where understaffing and overcrowding are brought under control, but that simply won’t happen without investment and an end to the recruitment ban.”

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