SIXTY people were awaiting beds in Cork University Hospital (CUH) yesterday, as more than 400 waited in hospitals across Ireland.
The figures, released by the Irish Nurses’ and Midwives’ Organisation (INMO), showed an increase of 26% on the same day last year when there were 328 patients on trolleys.
CUH had the highest number of people waiting in the country yesterday.
The INMO says that the problem is caused by a lack of nursing staff and limited bed capacity.
INMO industrial relations officer for Cork, Liam Conway, said: “The lack of medical beds in CUH is causing these problems. The INMO has sought an increase in these beds. There has been no winter planning, as yet,” added Mr Conway. “We have sought a meeting with CUH to discuss winter planning, but this is yet to happen.”
Mr Conway said that staff in the hospital are concerned, as they head into the winter period.
“Investment in medical beds in CUH is required urgently,” he said.
INMO general secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, described the latest figures as “genuinely startling.” “It’s only July, and our hospitals are already way over-capacity,” she said.
“Nurses will be looking to winter with a sense of dread. A decade ago, we’d call this a national emergency, but it’s the new normal in our broken health service,” she added.
Capacity simply has to increase, according to Ms Ni Sheaghdha.
“The Government must make it a priority to fill nursing vacancies urgently,” she said.
“That won’t happen, without the pay rise that nurses have earned.”