328 patients on trolleys as union warns crisis is 'again rearing its head'

University Hospital Limerick is the worst-hit hospital with 49 patients on trollies, follow by Cork University Hospital with 35
328 patients on trolleys as union warns crisis is 'again rearing its head'

263 patients are waiting in the emergency department, while 65 are in wards elsewhere in the hospital. File picture

More than 300 patients are waiting for beds in hospitals today as a union on Tuesday warned that the trolley crisis is “again rearing its head”. 

Some 328 patients are waiting on trolleys in Irish hospitals today.

263 patients are waiting in the emergency department, while 65 are in wards elsewhere in the hospital.

University Hospital Limerick is the worst-hit hospital with 49 patients on trollies, followed by Cork University Hospital with 35.

The figure is slightly down on yesterday's figure when 376 patients were without beds.

Tuesday's figure was the highest seen since March 5, 2020, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) claimed.

The INMO said yesterday that it is calling for urgent national intervention, in particular at University Hospital Limerick.

It is also calling for a strategy to reduce the volume of staff being redeployed for vaccinations. The union advised enabling nursing and midwifery students to become paid vaccinators.

“Although the levels of Covid are reducing, the long-standing trolley crisis is again rearing its head,” INMO President Karen McGowan said yesterday.

“Our members are seriously concerned that we will swing from the Covid crisis back into an overcrowding crisis.

“They need to know that the HSE will not tolerate overcrowding and ensure that safe staffing levels are implemented.” 

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said that the country is “slipping back into old habits” and that the HSE cannot allow trolley figures to rise.

Overcrowding is simply unsafe for patients – especially during a pandemic. 

"It is placing intolerable pressure on an exhausted workforce, who are now working to provide mass vaccinations in addition to a Covid and non-Covid healthcare service.

“The HSE and HIQA need to rapidly intervene in the worst-hit sites, and anything that can be done to ensure key staff are not redeployed must be looked at.

“Covid could be a turning point for the Irish healthcare system. We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past.” 

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