The number of patients on trolleys this morning would more than fill the largest hospital in the state, St. James (707 beds) or take more than twice the equivalent of Letterkenny University Hospital (333 beds).
The previous worst-ever day was 12 March 2018 during the “Beast from the East”, when 714 patients went without beds.
University Hospital Limerick has also broken the daily record for an individual hospital, with 92 patients on trolleys. The previous highest figure was 85, also in UHL.
The worst-hit hospitals include:
- University Hospital Limerick - 92
- Cork University Hospital - 56
- University Hospital Galway – 47
- South Tipperary General Hospital – 40
The INMO is calling for a major incident protocol to be adopted across the country, as was done in March 2018. This would likely see all non-emergency admissions stopped, electives cancelled, and extra bed capacity sourced from the private and public sectors.
The union is also calling for an infection control plan, as overcrowding increases infection risks.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said:
“Ireland’s beleaguered health service continues to break records in the worst possible way. Our members are working in impossible conditions to provide the best care they can.
“The excuse that this is all down to the flu simply doesn’t hold. There are always extra patients in winter, but we simply do not get the extra capacity to cope. This is entirely predictable, yet we seemingly fail to deal with it every year.
“The government need to immediately initiate a major incident protocol. We need to cancel elective surgeries, stop non-emergency admissions, and source extra capacity wherever we can.
“We also need to immediately scrap the HSE’s counterproductive recruitment pause, which is leaving these services understaffed and thus overcrowded.
“Behind these numbers are hundreds of individual vulnerable patients – it is a simply shameful situation. This is entirely preventable if proper planning was in place.”
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