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Irish Hospitals Face Crisis with 10,538 Patients, Including 273 Children, Left Without Beds in October: INMO Report

In October, Irish hospitals grappled with an alarming surge in patients awaiting admission, as reported by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO). The statistics revealed a distressing situation, with 10,538 patients, including 273 children, left without a hospital bed.

University Hospital Limerick was the hardest-hit facility, contending with a staggering 2,043 individuals waiting on trolleys. It was closely followed by Cork University Hospital, which had 1,034 patients in similar circumstances. Sligo University Hospital faced overcrowding with 730 patients, while University Hospital Galway and Dublin’s Mater University Hospital had 662 and 609 patients on trolleys, respectively.

Commenting on these figures, INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghda expressed concern, particularly regarding the post-bank holiday spike in overcrowding. She highlighted that during the three-day weekend, an additional 166 patients were admitted to hospitals without adequate bed provisions. Ní Sheaghda stressed the need for the healthcare system to address the escalating levels of overcrowding following public holidays.

The general secretary underscored that the data for October, revealing over 10,000 patients without hospital beds, is worrisome, especially along the western seaboard, where the pressure is particularly acute. She acknowledged the strain on the healthcare system due to staff shortages and emphasised the resultant impact on both patient and staff safety.

Ní Sheaghda cautioned that unless targeted recruitment and retention plans are implemented swiftly in hospitals and community care areas, unsafe staffing levels will persist through the winter. She called for reassurance that the safety of both healthcare professionals and patients is a top priority. In this regard, she urged the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the government to outline comprehensive steps, both nationally and locally, to significantly reduce the number of patients left waiting on trolleys.

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