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Thursday, 10th August 2017

Hospital overcrowding at peak levels but Lourdes bucks the trend

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Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda.

Hospital overcrowding nationally is at record levels with 57,674 people recorded by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) as requiring inpatient care but left on trolleys, in Emergency Departments or on wards in the first seven months of 2017.

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital has bucked the national trend however. It recorded the lowest figure (1,848) since 2009, less than half the numbers for 2012 when 4094 people had been forced to wait on trolleys during the months of January to July.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) says that the figures continue to be a source of great concern because, despite many initiatives, the number of patients on trolleys continues to increase.

In a statement issued today the INMO says the reduction in July 2017, when compared to July 2016, is most welcome particularly as the main area of reduction has been outside of Dublin and this must be continued as we enter the autumn period. 

The year to date figures confirm that a number of hospitals continue to endure ever increasing levels of overcrowding and these include: 

University Hospital Limerick

4,782

Cork University Hospital

3,949

University Hospital Galway

3,688

Mater Hospital Dublin

3,319

South Tipperary General Hospital

3,100

These figures, when taken with the recent record figures for numbers of people waiting for an outpatient appointment/procedure, once again confirms the lack of capacity, leading to lack of access, within our public health system. 

The INMO believes it is imperative that the Government, the Department and the HSE immediately agree the necessary additional funding, with incentives to recruit staff, so that we can expand our health service to meet both scheduled and unscheduled care demands.  

INMO General Secretary Liam Doran said that the record levels of patients on trolleys, in the first seven months, is most alarming as we prepare for the autumn/winter period.

These figures are further confirmation that our health service continues to be too small and, regardless of the initiatives that have been taken, demand continues to outstrip the capacity of the health service to provide timely, appropriate and dignified care.               

“If our health service is to respond, appropriately, to both the emergency and planned admissions, additional bed capacity, and community nursing services, must be introduced.  

This will only be done when we solve the recruitment/retention crisis facing nursing and midwifery in Ireland.  If we do not have additional nurses and midwives then we cannot expand our capacity and overcrowding levels will continue to grow”. 

There were three patients on trolleys at OLOL today, August 10th.

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