Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Highest trolley count at Limerick hospital on week of new overcrowding record

Highest trolley count at Limerick hospital on week of new overcrowding record

Nearly 100,000 people had to wait on hospital trolleys in emergency departments a year ago, according to figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

In a statement, the IMO said that solving the current high numbers of people on trolleys requires more beds, more consultants and more investment in Global Positioning System to allow more care for patients outside hospitals.

Across the border in Portlaoise Hospital, 25 patients are awaiting a bed, while there are 31 in a similar situation in Mullingar.

The second highest rate of overcrowding this week was at St Luke's Hospital, Kilkenny, with 191 patients on trolleys, followed by Cork university Hospital with 136 patients.

Nationally, there were 656 patients on trolleys, the highest number ever recorded.

It yesterday claimed that there were 35 people waiting for a bed in LUH.

Phil Ni Sheaghdha, the newly-appointed general secretary of the union, said that on 28 and 29 December, 11 of the 29 hospitals used their full capacity protocol and placed extra patients on wards.

The overall figure for the country is 677 - which is a new record.

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He said that the shortage of hospital beds is a "complex issue" without one solution, but that there are far more effective, economically viable and compassionate to having sick people on hospital trolleys.

In his statement this evening, Minister Harris said he wanted to recognise the "intense efforts of all our staff across the health service", while acknowledging the "very hard conditions" patients are experiencing at this time.

He said he would like to break the cycle of overcrowding in the health service and that capacity needs to be increased. Hospitalised cases of influenza and influenza-associated outbreaks in residential care facilities have also increased.

MUH Clinical Director Dr Kieran O'Connor said: "In this context, visiting is being restricted to the hospital in the interest of patient safety".

Also, 12 children were stuck on trolleys in Dublin's three children's hospitals.

The HSE, meanwhile, is urging high-risk groups to get the flu vaccine as the flu has started actively circulating in Ireland.

January typically sees the highest numbers on the trolley watch as the flu virus peaks and leads to increased demand for in-patient services on the already under pressure hospital system.

The HSE said the H3N2 strain also circulated a year ago and particularly affected the elderly, while young children are more susceptible to influenza B.

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