TODAY MARKS Ireland's worst-ever day on record for the number of patients forced to go without beds in hospitals throughout the country, the INMO has confirmed.
In a report released today by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, it was revealed that 760 admitted patients are on trolleys.
These numbers far surpass the previous worst recorded day which fell on 12 March 2018 during the 'Beast from the East' snowstorm when 714 people were without beds in hospitals across the country.
The amount of patients on trolleys today would more than fill Ireland's largest hospital, St James', which has 707 available beds, the INMO added.
University Hospital Limerick, which consistently has the worst performance with regards to trolley overcrowding, is again the worst-hit hospital today, with 92 patients without a bed.
Highest number on record: No beds for 760 admitted patients this morning, with a record *92* people waiting on trolleys in UH #Limerick. At 8am there were also 56 people on trolleys in #Cork UH and 47 people in UH #Galway.
For today’s full data, see https://t.co/QpFoi5Y62G pic.twitter.com/E6KQlmh0KP
— Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (@INMO_IRL) January 6, 2020
Cork University Hospital is the second-worst hit, with 56 patients on trolleys, followed by University Hospital Galway, where 47 admitted patients do not have a bed.
The INMO are now calling for a major incident protocol to be adopted in hospitals thorughout the country, such as placing a temporary pause to all non-emergency admissions, cancelling elective surgeries, implementing an infection control ban and sourcing extra beds from both the private and public sectors.
University Hospital Limerick has placed a temporary ban on all visitors to the hospital except for in the cases of end-of-life patients, critically ill patients, patients with alzheimers and dementia, and parents visiting sick children.
Visiting has been banned at University Hospital Limerick until further notice, as the hospital continues to manage high volumes of patients with influenza. pic.twitter.com/9xC4AD5QTp
— UL Hospitals (@ULHospitals) January 6, 2020
Speaking of the worst overcrowding on record and the steps needed to combat this, INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said:
“Ireland’s beleaguered health service continues to break records in the worst possible way. Our members are working in impossible conditions to provide the best care they can.
“The excuse that this is all down to the flu simply doesn’t hold. There are always extra patients in winter, but we simply do not get the extra capacity to cope. This is entirely predictable, yet we seemingly fail to deal with it every year.
“The government need to immediately initiate a major incident protocol. We need to cancel elective surgeries, stop non-emergency admissions, and source extra capacity wherever we can.
“We also need to immediately scrap the HSE’s counterproductive recruitment pause, which is leaving these services understaffed and thus overcrowded.
“Behind these numbers are hundreds of individual vulnerable patients – it is a simply shameful situation. This is entirely preventable if proper planning was in place.”