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Just how many extra hospital beds does Ireland need to sort out its overcrowding crisis? A lot more, says Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly

Dublin: 5,000 more beds are needed to solve the trolley crisis facing hospitals in Ireland, experts have said. More beds are expected to be needed if the country’s acute hospital system is to function properly.

The government has decided to allocate an additional 950 beds throughout the country. It is also pointed out that this is not even a third of what is really needed. The confluence of COVID, flu, and RSV has brought hospitals to a halt. There are no beds available in the emergency department due to overcrowding. Because there is no bed, patients are sitting on chairs and tables at the nurses’ station and on trolleys in the assessment area.

According to the HSE, 700 patients are on trolleys. Meanwhile, the INMO reports that 931 patients are waiting for beds. The University Hospital Limerick has the most patients (76) without a bed. Cork University Hospital has 62 patients waiting for beds; Galway University Hospital has 51; and Letterkenny University Hospital has 46.

The shortage of GPs is also a big problem. The number of hospital consultants has more than doubled in the last 15 years, but the number of GPs has not. There is also a shortage of nurses. The current number needs to be doubled.

Dr. Peader Gilligan, consultant in emergency medicine at Beaumont Hospital, said that because of this, patients cannot be properly treated. According to Dr. Diarmuid Quinlan, medical director of the Irish College of General Practitioners, GP training should be expanded as well. Meanwhile, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has stated that the HSE has issued a warning that the situation is likely to worsen.

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