Almost 100 patients have been waiting on trolleys and in wards for hospital beds in Cork today, it has been revealed.
The latest figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) show that 70 were awaiting a bed in Cork University Hospital this morning along with another 27 at the Mercy Hospital.
CUH has been the most overcrowded hospital in Ireland for the past two days and has seen 250 patients awaiting a bed since the beginning of the year.
Chairman of the Irish Patients’ Association (IPA), Stephen McMahon described the levels of overcrowding at CUH as “huge”.
He said that such overcrowding is dangerous for patients and must be very stressful for staff.
The sudden surge in trolley numbers comes after the HSE warned of a spike in admissions as flu season ramps up.
Two were hospitalised in CUH last week after presenting with Influenza A (H1N1), otherwise known as swine flu.
Meanwhile, nurses and midwives in Cork and across Ireland are set to hold a strike on January 30, with further days of action planned in February if their issues are not addressed.
The strike will see the INMO members withdraw their labour for a 24-hour period over issues such as low wages and failure in terms of recruitment and retention by the HSE.
Mr McMahon warned that, with the current levels of overcrowding, any strike would put patients lives at risk.
“We hope that a resolution to the current impasse between the INMO and the Government will be resolved before the deadline expires,” he said.
“Should a strike happen on top of existing levels of overcrowding there is no softer way of saying it but that patients lives will be at risk.
“All parties to this dispute have a duty of care to ensure that this does not happen,” he added.
“Patients must not be used as pawns by any party to an industrial dispute.”