Almost 540 people were waiting on trolleys for a hospital bed yesterday — just one day after a planned strike by nurses at seven hospital emergency departments was deferred.
According to figures provided by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, 537 people were waiting on trolleys for a bed yesterday.
The INMO also found that although the level of overcrowding in December decreased by 13% compared to the same month in 2014, there was a 21% increase in overcrowding from January to December 2015 compared to the same period for 2014.
The analysis found that, from January to December 2015, almost 93,000 patients waited on a trolley for an in-patient bed compared to 77,000 in 2014. This was the highest figure since INMO records began.
The INMO figures come as a planned strike at seven hospital emergency departments was called off. It had been scheduled to take place tomorrow
Following talks with the HSE over the weekend, the INMO agreed to proposals for dealing with overcrowding and staffing levels. They expand upon the measures produced in mid-December and focus on confidence building/implementation measures, managing clinical risk, and regular senior management engagement.
The new framework is intended to support hospital groups and community health organisations in developing integrated escalation plans so that capacity and patient processing is appropriately managed at a time of excess demand on emergency services.
INMO general secretary Liam Doran said yesterday’s ward-watch figures show there is no sign of the overcrowding crisis abating.
“[The] figures show 537 sick people waiting on trolleys for a hospital bed,” said Mr Doran. It is now absolutely vital that the HSE, at national level, and at senior level within all hospital groups, immediately commits to fully operating the revised policy.
“Their priority must be to reduce overcrowding and ensure that nurses can practice safely within a manageable working environment so that we never see these figures again.”
Mr Doran said that while the new measures are welcome, the long-term solution to the overcrowding crisis is proper funding and for the Government to “reverse the severe cuts over the past number of years and prepare for the future needs of our sick and vulnerable”.
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