Over 500 waiting for hospital beds as INMO confirm 2019 worst year for overcrowding

Over 500 waiting for hospital beds as INMO confirm 2019 worst year for overcrowding

There are 547 patients waiting for beds in hospitals this morning, according to the INMO.

Of those, 385 are waiting in the emergency department, while 162 are in wards elsewhere in the hospital.

    The worst-hit hospitals today are:

  • University Hospital Limerick: 63
  • Cork University Hospital: 52
  • University Hospital Galway: 39

The figures follow confirmation from the INMO that 118,367 patients went without hospital beds in 2019, making last year the worst-ever year for hospital overcrowding since records began. Over 1,300 were children younger than 16.

The overall figure is 9% higher than the previous year.

“The pain and suffering endured by patients waiting on trolleys cannot be underestimated," said Fianna Fáil's Stephen Donnelly.

"Over 15,000 were women and men over 75 years of age, waiting on a trolley for more than 24 hours. There were numerous cases of people waiting for days, stuck in corridors."

    The worst-hit hospitals in 2019 included:

  • University Hospital Limerick: 13,941
  • Cork University Hospital: 11,066
  • University Hospital Galway: 7,993
  • South Tipperary General Hospital: 6,942
  • University Hospital Waterford: 6,313

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha called on the HSE to tackle understaffing and a lack of capacity across Irish hospitals.

“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," she said.

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

“The most frustrating part is that we know how to solve this problem: increase staffing and bed capacity, expand community care, and get going with the Sláintecare reforms.

“Instead, the HSE continues to enforce its rigid recruitment controls, starving hospitals and community services of the staff they need. Our members are rightly appalled by the conditions they are forced to work and care for patients in.

“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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