620 people waiting on trolleys for hospital beds on third day of the year 3 months ago

620 people waiting on trolleys for hospital beds on third day of the year

New figures released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation paint a difficult picture.

620 people are waiting on a trolley for a hospital bed on the third day of the new year, according to new figures released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

Established in 2004, the INMO Trolley Watch index counts, on a daily basis at 8am, the number of patients who have been admitted to acute hospitals but who are waiting for a free bed.

"These patients are often being treated on trolleys in corridors, but they may also be on chairs, in waiting rooms, or simply wherever there’s space," notes the INMO.

Recent statistics issued by the INMO indicated that thousands of patients across the country were left without hospital beds in 2019.

Figures released on Thursday revealed that last year was officially Ireland's worst ever year for trolley overcrowding with 118,367 people left without beds, a 9% increase on 2018.

Of that number, 1,300 were children under the age of 16.

On Friday (3 January), the INMO announced that 620 people were left without beds, with Cork University Hospital reported as the worst-affected, with 73 people on trolleys in the morning.

Close behind is University Hospital Limerick, with 57 people waiting for a bed.

The INMO figures differ from the Health Service Executive of Ireland (HSE), who have reported an overcrowding number of 432.

An INMO statement issued on Thursday challenged the HSE to cease its recruitment pause in a bid to amend the issue.

"There are 411 fewer inpatient beds in Ireland’s hospitals today than a decade ago, despite a larger, older population," said an INMO spokesperson.

"That number won't safely increase so long as the HSE's recruitment pause is in place. End the pause, add beds, get staffing to safe levels."