Overcrowding at hospitals reached record levels in August

The number of patients on trolleys in the country’s hospitals continues to rise, with record levels reached in August of this year, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

There were 7,781 patients on trolleys and wards awaiting beds last month, up 27% on the same period in 2016.

Tallaght hospital 9

In total, for the first eight months of the year, there were 65,455 patients left waiting on trolleys having been admitted for care – an increase of 7% on the same period last year and an increase of 90% on 10 years ago in 2007.

Tallaght Hospital saw 381 extra patients forced to wait on trolleys or wards for a bed in the first eight months of the year, an increase of 13.3%.

Meanwhile, an increase of almost 70% (68.79%) was seen at St James’ Hospital, with 1,644 people awaiting beds on trolley and wards compared to 974 for the same eight month period in 2016.

Speaking about the increases, INMO General Secretary Liam Doran said: “There is no doubt that the level of attention required to manage trolley overcrowding has dropped in recent months.  

“The abnormal, and very harmful and detrimental, effects, of overcrowding, are no longer viewed as requiring urgent action as the HSE focuses on measuring and counting the problem rather than addressing it.

“It is clear that setting of targets, whether they be for patients over 75, patients waiting to be seen or patients waiting for a decision to admit/discharge has not had any positive effect upon the management of the overcrowding crisis.  

“The monitoring and reporting of the targets has now become the priority for management rather than the actions necessary to protect patients and frontline staff.”

At today’s meeting of the national Emergency Department Implementation Group the INMO will be seeking the immediate implementation of all emergency measures identified in the taskforce report in 2015.

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