Hospital Overcrowding 'At Its Highest'

People 'trollied' at the sidelines in hospitals, awaiting medical treatment has reached record-breaking heights, so a nurses' group has said.

According to a nurses group the amount of people waiting on trolleys to be treated in hospital was at the highest it has been in five years.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) have published figures showing a 35% increase on the same month last year - this is the highest number recorded in August since records began.

The figures reveal that 6,624 people spent time on a trolley awaiting a bed at a hospital in Ireland during August. This is in comparison to 4,924 patients for the same period last year.

Over 2,000 hospital bed closures have led to this record breaking overcrowding of hospitals. Released in conjunction with the Health Service Executive the report by the INMO indicated overcrowding levels were up 106% since 2007.

In addition the INMO recorded 401 people waiting on trolleys in emergency departments. They have said that the solution cannot be to 'hide' the problem by placing extra beds on wards.

Meanwhile five out of six Dublin hospitals have been ranked as 'unsatisfactory' in terms of the performance of the emergency departments.

The worst performing hospital was St Vincent's University Hospital who has the most overcrowding today. The best performing hospital is St James's, where just over 10% of patients had to wait six to 12 hours for admission.

The General Secretary for INMO, Liam Doran said: "The volume of acute bed closures, the reduction in continuing long term care beds and the cutbacks in community based services were having a devastating impact upon the quality of care available to patients in emergency departments."

"Increasingly we are facing attempts by local hospital managements to deal with this problem by placing additional beds on all in patient wards, notwithstanding the fact that there are closed beds/wards in all of these hospitals.

"This is simply wrong," he said.

The HSE has however said that the health system is facing an extremely challenging financial situation for the rest of the year and hospitals must stay within their agreed budgets.


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