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2023 is the worst year on record for hospital overcrowding
press release 19/12/2023

Over 121,526 patients have gone without a bed in Irish hospitals in 2023 according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, making it the worst year for hospital overcrowding on record.


The top 5 most overcrowded hospitals in 2023 include:

  1. University Hospital Limerick (21,141 patients)
  2. Cork University Hospital (12,487 patients)
  3. University Hospital Galway (8,914 patients)
  4. Sligo University Hospital (8,094 patients)
  5. St. Vincent’s University Hospital (6,555 patients)


517 patients are on trolleys in Irish hospitals today.


INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:


“With six days to Christmas, there has been no let-up in pressure for our nurses and midwives who are working in overcrowded and understaffed hospitals.


“For the second year in a row we have broken overcrowding records. The year is not even over and 121,526 patients have been admitted to hospital without a bed. Over 3,450 children have been on trolleys so far this year, an increase of 24% on the previous year. This is not something to celebrate and was entirely predictable.


“Instead of coming forward with plans to drastically improve the lot of our members and patients who find themselves in emergency departments, the HSE have instead decided to implement a recruitment freeze which will further demoralise a burned out, exhausted workforce. We know from past experience that it can take a long time to reverse the impact of any recruitment freeze.


“What will it take for the HSE and Government to act? The independent agency HIQA last week stated that in over 80% of the hospitals they have inspected, patient dignity was compromised and that workforce planning must be prioritised.


“Long delays, inadequate bed space and unsafe staffing levels are making it impossible for our members to provide safe care.


“We are about to walk into an unbearably busy time in our public hospital system and it is clear that lessons from the not-so-distant past have not been learned when it comes to tackling the root causes of hospital overcrowding.”



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Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (Cumann Altrai agus Ban Cabhrach na hEireann). The Whitworth Building, North Brunswick Street, Dublin 7. T:+353 1 664 0600 E:inmo@inmo.ie