2019 breaks record for most patients on trolleys – and it’s not even December
2019 has seen the highest number of patients on trolleys in any year since records began – despite it still being November.
As of today, 108,364 people have gone without beds in 2019 so far – breaking 2018’s record high of 108,227, with a full month left to go in the year.
The figures count patients who are admitted to hospitals but do not have a bed. They are typically on trolleys in corridors or on chairs. The INMO counts the numbers in 32 hospitals each morning at 8am.
The INMO is calling for extra staffing and an increase in hospital, homecare, and community capacity to deal with the problem.
The union has invoked health and safety laws for staff, writing to the Health and Safety Authority and HIQA, seeking their intervention.
In 2019 so far, the worst-affected hospitals are:
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said:
“Winter has only just begun and the record is already broken. These statistics are the hallmark of a wildly bureaucratic health service, which is failing staff and patients alike.
“We take no pleasure in having to record these figures for a decade and a half. We know the problem, but we also know the solutions: extra beds in hospitals, safe staffing levels, and more step-down and community care outside of the hospital.
“Five years ago, hospitals like Beaumont consistently faced the most extreme overcrowding problems in the country. They reduced that problem by adding beds and growing community care. Other services can do the same and must be allowed to do so.
“No other developed country faces anything close to this trolley problem. It can be solved, but a strong political agenda to drive change is needed.
“The INMO has written to the health and safety authorities this week to try force a change from the employers. Hospitals should be a place of safety and care – not danger.”
Notes to Editors:
- This is also the highest November on record, and the 5th consecutive month to exceed records for previous years. 
- Today’s trolley figure total is 522. See breakdown here by hospital today.

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