Almost 8,000 patients were forced to wait on trolleys and chairs in September, according to new figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisations (INMO).
The INMO’s monthly Trolley Watch Analysis showed that 7,765 patients were treated without hospital beds in September 2018. Sixty-eight of them were aged under 16.
The union has said that unfilled nursing vacancies are impacting patient safety.
The figures show that Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore, and Letterkenny University Hospital all hit record highs for a September.
INMO general secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha said: “Nearly 8,000 people on trolleys should be regarded as a national crisis. But it’s become business as usual in the Irish health service.
“Our members are telling us that they can’t go on with this number of unfilled vacancies. It’s not safe for patients and it’s not safe for staff.
“The HSE simply cannot hire enough nurses and midwives on these wages. Unless pay increases, vacancies will remain open, wards will remain understaffed and things will only get worse.”
Nurses will soon be balloted on whether to accept the Government’s proposals on pay, and if they think they are sufficient to resolve the recruitment and retention crisis.
The INMO is recommending members vote to reject.
Today's figures show that 322 people are on trolleys and overflow wards in the country's hospitals today.
The INMO said that is a decrease of 23% on the same day last year when there were 416 patients on trolleys.