The warning comes as new figures have revealed that 604 patients were on trolleys in Cork University Hospital (CUH) last month — the third highest in the country.
Nationally, almost 8,000 patients were on trolleys waiting for a hospital bed in the worst August on record for overcrowding. The traditionally quiet month was as bad as the worst month in 2014, when the problem was called a crisis and then health minister Leo Varadkar set up the emergency department taskforce in response.
High trolley numbers in A&Es throughout the summer months does not “bode well” for the upcoming winter, Cork GP Dr Nick Flynn has warned.
There were also more than 600 people awaiting a bed in CUH in July of this year, the busiest summer since the INMO began collating the figures 12 years ago.
David Hughes, deputy general secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, said: “These are dangerously high figures for summer. Our health services are clearly stretched beyond capacity.
“Nurses, midwives and patients will all be looking to winter with a sense of dread,” he added.