MORE than 1,300 people have been waiting on trolleys and in wards for hospital beds across Cork since the turn of the year, it has been revealed.
Figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation show that Cork, mainly due to a large number of presentations at Cork University Hospital (CUH), has seen some of the highest levels of hospital overcrowding since the start of the year.
The overcrowding is a key reason for industrial action by nurses across the country.
Almost 1,000 patients were waiting for beds at CUH in January, which also saw 285 waiting at the Mercy and a further 83 at Bantry General.
Nationally, more than 10,000 admitted patients were forced to wait without hospital beds in January 2019, according to a new monthly analysis by the INMO. See figures here.
This represents a 55% increase on the number of patients waiting for beds in January 10 years ago and a 30% increase on January five years ago.
The INMO did not take counts at weekends, or for the last two days of the month, due to strike action.
There were more than 60 patients without beds at CUH on several occasions as hospitals dealt with increased attendances due to flu and other illnesses.
HSE public health specialists warned early in the year of an increase in flu presentations.
Almost 100 have presented to CUH with the illness so far this year as hundreds more were hospitalised across the country.
The HSE revealed yesterday that 25 people have died from the flu so far this season. Last week, 300 people with the illness were hospitalised, bringing the number of such admissions to 1,066, with 65 admitted to intensive care.
The HSE said on Thursday that the flu will continue to circulate for at least the next six weeks, but that the peak of the season appears to have passed.
Meanwhile, nurses and midwives across Cork and Ireland are set to take part in further strike action next Tuesday and Thursday as they aim to highlight pay disparity and poor working conditions in the sector.
The INMO strike on Wednesday, January 30 saw widespread disruption to health services and the cancellation of around 25,000 operations nationally.