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Congestion is on the rise in Irish hospitals; INMO says 221 patients are on trolleys in the country

Irish hospitals are crowded at a time when social distance must be maintained. Union warned that Covid-19 and hospital overcrowding could put hospital staff and patients in danger.

This morning’s rise in the number of patients on trolleys in Irish hospitals has left health workers anxious.

According to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organization (INMO), 221 patients are on trolleys across the country. Most of these patients are in emergency department trolleys.

This is the highest number since the introduction of the Covid-19 restrictions in March.

Cork University Hospital: 50, University Hospital Limerick: 41, Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar: 25, Mayo University Hospital: 22, Sligo University Hospital: 14, Crumlin children’s hospital: 13, are the worst affected Irish hospitals.

Liam Conway, INMO Industrial Relations Officer at Cork University Hospital, said frontline workers, including doctors and nurses, are concerned about their safety and that of patients. She added that infection control is essential in a hospital with corridors and trolleys.

Although the HSE had assured that it would not tolerate any further congestion during Covid, she made it clear that no action had been taken so far.

INMO asks to expand additional home care packages, higher staff bed capacity and step-down facility capacity.

Labor leader Alan Kelly has said there should be a special plan to deal with the winter trolley crisis every year.

He said the plan is essential “especially for University Hospital Limerick and Cork University Hospital which traditionally see large spikes of trolley numbers, and now more than ever before we need to see a funded, targeted plan for the midwest and southwest regions.”

After all the emotional support this government gave them through speeches, applause and lit candles, the least they (health care workers) deserve is a plan from Minister Donnelly and the HSE to increase bed capacity to avoid what we know are traditional spikes in trolley numbers.  

As the country fights Covid, hospitals are facing a serious challenge in providing non-Covid care, said David Cullinane, a health spokesman for Sinn F‌in.

He also accused Health Minister Stephen Donnelly of failing to prepare a timely plan to meet the current challenges.

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