NEWS figures released today show that 2018 was the worst year on record for overcrowding in Irish hospitals.
The figures, released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), show that 108,227 patients went without a hospital bed last year.
The number marks a nine per cent increase on 2017 (98,981), which was itself a record high.
It is also nearly double the number in 2006 (55,720), when INMO records began.
The INMO Executive now plans to set dates for strike action.
‘Not enough beds’
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha slammed government spin, saying the situation is impacting on patients’ health.
“Despite the government spin, 2018 was the worst year on record for overcrowding,” she said.
“Negative records were set throughout the year, with over 100,000 admitted patients forced to wait on trolleys and chairs, without a proper bed.
“We know that this dramatically worsens outcomes for our patients.
“The health service does not have enough beds to support our population.
“More beds means more nurses, but the HSE simply can’t hire enough on these wages.
“It’s beyond time for the government to engage proactively with the INMO to resolve the crisis in Irish nursing and midwifery.
“Patients should be focused on recovering, but instead have to worry about waiting times, understaffing and a lack of beds.
“2019 must see real changes in policy and funding to resolve this once and for all.”
The INMO blames the crisis on low capacity and understaffing.
They have asked the government to work with the organisation to develop real proposals to resolve the recruitment and retention crisis in nursing.
However they say this has not happened, and 95 per cent of INMO nurses and midwives voted in favour of industrial action.
The INMO Executive will meet on January 7-8 to set dates for strikes.