Almost 9,000 patients left on hospital trolleys in March

Almost 9,000 patients were left on trolleys in hospitals around the country following admission last month, making it the worst March for a decade in terms of patient-trolley numbers.

Almost 9,000 patients left on hospital trolleys in March

The figures, released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), highlighted the soaring numbers of people awaiting treatment on trolleys, with St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin worst-hit, with an increase of 237% compared to the same month last year.

The trolley crisis had already peaked earlier this year when new daily records were set, but the INMO said the latest figures indicated that the crisis had not eased.

INMO general secretary Liam Doran said: “This is the ninth month in a row, when the number of admitted patients left on trolleys, has increased when compared to previous years. This is confirmation that our health service continues to be too small to adequately, and safely, meet the demands being placed upon it.”

Earlier this year, a report of the Emergency Department Task Force charged with looking at the causes of the trolley crisis made a series of recommendations, including that there be extra funding for the Fair Deal nursing home scheme, and increases in surgical rates and in weekend discharges.


Mr Doran said: “It is now imperative that the minister immediately establishes the monitoring/implementation group to oversee the speedy delivery of all of the changes/initiatives contained in the Emergency Taskforce Report.”

The INMO also claimed that most hospitals are placing extra trolleys on inpatient wards every day, contrary to earlier commitments from the HSE that such a step would not be taken, and claimed there was a total of 1,814 such placements in March, led by Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown with 220.

The INMO said a total of 8,930 people were on trolleys following admission last month, and while some hospitals actually experienced a fall in trolley numbers compared with last year, other hospitals saw considerable increases.

For example, taking Emergency Department and ward totals, 412 were on trolleys in Cork University Hospital last month compared with 304 in March 2014, while in the Midlands Regional Hospital in Mullingar, 562 people were on trolleys last month compared to 250 in the same month last year.

In University College Hospital Galway, the figures were 387 in March last year versus 634 last month.

A HSE spokesperson said: “The HSE is maintaining a daily focus on this area and are active partners in the Emergency Taskforce set up by the minister to find longer-term solutions to overcrowding. This is a priority issue for the HSE who are implementing the actions of the taskforce.”


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