Two Munster hospitals have been listed as having the highest number of patients who went without beds in 2020.
New figures released by the INMO have shown that 53,325 patients went without beds in the last year.
The INMO said that more than 30,000 of those were recorded since the Covid-19 virus arrived in Ireland.
The union has described the figures as “unacceptable”, saying that admitted patients waited on trolleys and chairs, often in corridors, which posed an infection control risk.
The INMO said that the figures were roughly half of what they were in 2019, which was the highest year on record.
The hospitals with the highest overall figures included:
- University Hospital Limerick: 9,843 (higher than 2017);
- Cork University Hospital: 6,503 (higher than 2016);
- Midlands Regional Hospital, Mullingar: 2,768 (higher than 2019);
- Sligo University Hospital: 2,530 (higher than 2017);
- Mater University Hospital: 2,368.
“Hospital overcrowding is unacceptable at the best of times, but it is doubly so when dealing with a contagious virus,” said INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, the focus was on eliminating overcrowding. We now need immediate interventions to ensure our hospitals can cope with the volume of patients safely.
“Over 13,000 healthcare workers have been infected with Covid. Nearly 4,000 of them nurses. These are the staff we need to roll out the vaccine and to provide care. They cannot be safe in overcrowded, infectious environments.
“We are now effectively running two health services, catering for Covid and non-Covid cases. We wrote to the HSE yesterday seeking urgent action. They must bring private hospital capacity onstream and postpone electives.”