Following the billions of euros spent on the Covid pandemic, there are currently 529 patients in Irish hospitals without a bed, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.
The most overcrowded hospital in the country is Cork University Hospital, with 88 patients on trolleys – a new record for that hospital. This is followed by University Hospital Limerick, with 73 patients on trolleys.
University Hospital Galway has 42, St. Luke’s Kilkenny has 38 and Letterkenny University Hospital has 31.
This is despite Ireland spending €2.7 billion on healthcare to fight the Covid pandemic in 2020 and a further €2.2 billion in 2021 – €4.9 billion in total.
Reacting to the news, INMO secretary general Phil Ní Sheaghdha said the development was “worrying.”
“We are on a very dangerous path to unprecedented hospital overcrowding this winter and beyond,” she said.
“Budget 2023 needs to be ambitious when it comes to increasing capacity but also ensuring that beds are not just open in a vacuum and staffed adequately.
“Our daily trolley figures indicate a real problem all across the western seaboard and the midwest. Nurses in these hospitals are incredibly burnt out and indicating that they are working in unsafe staffing situations before the worst of the winter has even hit.
“The INMO will now seek to engage with the relevant health and safety authorities such as the HSA and HIQA. We will be seeking that fire officers inspect areas with high overcrowding.”
Addition, INMO Industrial Relations Officer Liam Conway said that the situation in Cork University Hospital is “completely unacceptable.”
“There is no real or meaningful plan to support the CUH Emergency Department and its surrounds when it comes to increasing bed capacity in the months ahead,” he said.
“Urgent engagement is required to ensure that discharge facilities are available in the community.
“A bespoke taskforce is now needed to tackle the ongoing issues in Cork University Hospital. Our members in CUH will not tolerate another winter where they are exposed to excessive workloads which leads to excessive burnout.”