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ED Overcrowding Reaches Highest Ever Levels. 05.01.11
– Children and adults on trolleys as nearly 1600 beds remain closed

PRESS RELEASE,  Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

The INMO trolley watch, today Wednesday, has found 569 people on trolleys, in hospitals across the country, waiting for an inpatient bed.  This is the second day running that this national disgrace has reached record level following yesterday’s figure of 511.

In March 2006 the Minister for Health and Children declared a National Emergency when there were 495 people on trolleys across the country.  It is quite obvious her approach to this crisis has been totally inadequate and she must now initiate all measures necessary to alleviate this pain and suffering on sick people and frontline staff trying to care for them. 

This crisis deserves the same level of political and governmental engagement as the economic crisis and the INMO is now calling for the following measures:

1.  Immediate ministerial involvement leading to:

  • A directive that all closed beds be opened immediately;
  • Additional frontline staffing resources to be given to alleviate the stress on patients in ED departments across the country;
  • Enhanced community facilities e.g. public health nursing and home help to ensure early intervention, in the community, to minimise admission to hospital.

2. In addition to these measures discussions must begin immediately leading to:

  • The opening of small injury (nurse-led) units in all urban areas across the country;
  • Introduction of diagnostic referral powers to nursing staff;
  • The appointment of advanced nurse practitioners/clinical nurse specialists in all  ED/medical assessment units.

Speaking this lunchtime INMO General Secretary, Liam Doran said:

“These figures, which are the equivalent of the total number of beds in a large hospital, are a direct result of a combination of factors which include:

1. Political neglect and indifference to maintaining a quality assured public health service;

2. Blind adherence to budget limitations regardless of:

(a) Their impact upon patient care;
(b) The increased productivity and efficiency of the service resulting in 
hospitals that have exceeded their targets being penalised, not rewarded; and,
(c) Lack of planning resulting in poorly developed, or a complete absence of 
alternative services after centralisation into overcrowded Centres of    Excellence.

It is imperative that the Government now reacts to this crisis with the same urgency, and priority, it has given to our economic difficulties and the supposed need of our bankers and saving our banks. It is time this government looked after ordinary people, many of them elderly, who are facing this indignity, loss of privacy and potential compromising of their health and well being. Saying there is no money and we must do more with less, is cold comfort to the 569 patients and will not address their immediate needs or give them back their dignity.

The INMO is available to engage on this crisis and we call upon the government and the HSE to acknowledge the extent of the crisis and to respond immediately with the positive measures detailed above.”


Trolley Watch Figures 5th January 2011
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ED Overcrowding Reaches Highest Ever Levels. 05.01.11
– Children and adults on trolleys as nearly 1600 beds remain closed
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