Figures published by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) this week show an increase in 2017 of 5% in the number of patients waiting on trolleys or on additional beds. Overall, throughout 2017, 98,981 admitted patients were recorded as awaiting a hospital bed.
The figures from Trolley Watch, a system setup by the INMO in 2004 to track the number of additional patients on beds, trolleys or chairs, show a steady worsening of the problem since 2012.
INMO Trolley and Ward Watch Annual Analysis 2006 – 2017
The level of hospital overcrowding hit an all time daily high of 677 patients on Wednesday. The worst affected hospital was St Luke’s in Kilkenny with 54 patients on trolleys. A nurse at the hospital, who asked not to be named, described the situation as ‘nothing new’ pointing out that many of the staff felt HSE management had ‘given up’ trying to tackle the issue.
Reacting to the level of overcrowding, Phil Ni Sheaghdha, recently appointed General Secretary of the INMO, called on the HSE and Minister for Health, Simon Harris, to explain how the predictable increases in Emergency Department admissions were continually not addressed on a yearly basis.