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More than 90 patients awaiting beds in Cork hospitals this morning

More than 90 patients were left waiting for a bed across three Cork hospitals this morning, it has been revealed.

Figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) show that 68 patients were waiting on trolleys or in wards for a bed at Cork University Hospital today, along with 19 at the Mercy and five in Bantry.

The overcrowding comes on the day The Echo reported that nurses and midwives have threatened possible industrial action in the region unless issues at CUH are addressed.

Last week, conditions for both patients and staff at CUH were described as intolerable and unsafe amid record overcrowding and capacity concerns.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has sought engagement with HSE management to discuss the issues and has warned it could curtail services unless urgent action is taken to address issues at Cork University Hospital and across services in the region.

The union said Cork health services have been plunged into a crisis due to record overcrowding, hundreds of vacant frontline positions including in nursing, and chronic recruitment and retention issues.

“There will need to be measures put in place to address overcrowding and shortages,” said INMO industrial relations officer for Cork, Liam Conway.

“Otherwise or members will have to consider alternative action such as industrial action,” he warned.

“This would be extremely regrettable and we hope that common sense prevails and urgent measures are put in place to protect our members and the patients they care for by increasing bed capacity and lifting the controls nationally for local recruitment.” INMO members went on strike in January this year with thousands of patients impacted as services experienced widespread disruption.

It was revealed last week “exceptionally busy” conditions at CUH had caused delays for patients.

Meanwhile, last month saw more than 1,000 patients waiting on trolleys or wards for a bed at the hospital.

Mr Conway said the conditions for patients and staff in CUH are intolerable and unsafe.

He added the health service cannot enter the autumn/winter period with no plan in place to address this.

A spokesperson for CUH told The Echo that the hospital has been “exceptionally busy” in recent weeks.

“Due to this increased level of activity and subsequent admissions, it is regrettable that some patients may experience a delay in the ED.

“The increase in attendance is due to the large number of very ill medical patients requiring admission,” she added.

“Patient care is paramount in CUH and this situation is being treated as a priority by Hospital Management who have taken steps to address this issue.

“Hospital management have requested that, where appropriate, the public contact their GP in the first instance and explore all other options available to them prior to attending the Emergency Department if their needs are not urgent.”