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Trolley crisis continues

Wednesday, 5th July, 2017 2:28pm

Local hospitals are continuing to come under increased pressure, with University Hospital Galway (UHG) ranked as one of the most overcrowded hospitals throughout the country last month.

As national trolley figures continue to reach record highs, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) confirm 51,321 patients admitted for care were left waiting on trolleys in the first six months of the year.

This represents a six per cent increase compared to the same time last year. The figures also confirm that in the month of June there were 7,124 patients on trolleys – a 21 per cent increase on June 2016. 

University Hospital Limerick was the most overcrowded hospital in the country in June with 640 patients left waiting for a bed followed by UHG (566), the Mater Hospital Dublin (532), Cork University Hospital (469) and University Hospital Waterford (406).
Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe also saw a significant jump with 89 patients on trolleys in June 2017, compared to just 12 in June 2016.

The latest figures come after a slight improvement in April, however according to the INMO they confirm an “ever growing demand” for impatient services upon the health service which continues to suffer from inadequate capacity.

“The INMO understands that a number of hospitals, in recent weeks, have tried to maintain elective (planned) admissions in an effort to reduce waiting lists for planned care. While the INMO welcomes any reduction in waiting periods, for impatient care, these latest figures confirm these hospitals do not have the capacity to provide the required services for both planned and emergency admissions,” a statement from the INMO read.

According to the INMO, a number of Emergency Departments have endured severe nursing staff shortages in recent weeks due to a combination of vacant posts, staff leave and inability to provide emergency staffing through agencies.

“This has compounded the negative impact upon patient care and created intolerable working conditions for staff in both Emergency Departments/Wards,” the organisation stated.

INMO General Secretary, Liam Doran said, “These figures represent further evidence that our health service, through inadequate bed and staffing levels, simply cannot cope with the demands being placed upon it.

“The legitimate attempts to reduce waiting lists has only exacerbated the levels of overcrowding, with the indignity and loss of privacy that result, now taking place, in this peak summer period, in Emergency Departments and Wards across the country. 
These figures confirm that hospitals cannot deal with both planned and emergency admissions at the same time confirming that our health service remains far too small.”

Mr Doran added that “immediate steps” must be taken, including additional staff and bed capacity, in order to address the current levels of overcrowding,” he concluded.

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