Hospitals are enduring ever increasing levels of overcrowding with University Hospital Galway (UHG) continuing to rank as one of the most overcrowded hospitals in the country.
With national trolley figures reaching record highs, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has confirmed 57,674 patients admitted for care were left waiting on trolleys in the first seven months of 2017.
UHG is the third most overcrowded hospital in the country so far this year with 3,688 patients left waiting on trolleys behind Cork University Hospital (3,949) with University Hospital Limerick topping the list (4,782).
According to the INMO the year to date figures continue to be a source of “great concern” as, despite many initiatives, the number of patients, admitted and requiring inpatient care, left on trolleys, in Emergency Departments or on trolleys on wards, continues to increase.
Speaking on the latest INMO Trolley/Ward Watch figures, General Secretary Liam Doran described the record levels of patients on trolleys as “most alarming”.
“These figures are further confirmation that our health service continues to be too small and, regardless of the initiatives that have been taken, demand continues to outstrip the capacity of the health service to provide timely, appropriate and dignified care,” he stated.
The INMO said they believe it is imperative that the Government, the Department and the HSE immediately agree the necessary additional funding, with incentives to recruit staff, so that we can expand our health service to meet both scheduled and unscheduled care demands.
“The situation must be the subject of immediate action, by Government, the Department of Health and the HSE, leading to additional funding, which must provide for incentivised staff recruitment, so that additional beds can be opened and properly staffed to meet ever growing demand”.
Mr. Doran concluded: “If our health service is to respond, appropriately, to both the emergency and planned admissions, additional bed capacity, and community nursing services, must be introduced.
“This will only be done when we solve the recruitment/retention crisis facing nursing and midwifery in Ireland. If we do not have additional nurses and midwives then we cannot expand our capacity and overcrowding levels will continue to grow.”
The figures also confirm that, in the month of July, there was a six per cent reduction when compared to July 2016 – a reduction that has been welcomed by the INMO.
UHG saw a decrease in trolley numbers from 447 in July 2016 to 202 in July 2017 while Portiuncula Hospital Ballinasloe also saw a slight drop from 44 to 38.