CORK University Hospital was among the most overcrowded hospitals last month as more than 640 patients awaited hospital beds, it has been revealed.
October 2018 was the worst October on record for people awaiting hospital beds, new figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation show.
Almost 10,000 were forced to wait for hospital beds on trolleys and chairs in hospitals across Ireland last month, the union revealed.
This is more than twice (+124%) as bad as when the INMO Trolley Watch began in 2006.
University Hospital Limerick had over 1,045 patients on trolleys – the highest in the country, and the equivalent of Limerick’s total bed capacity twice over.
Meanwhile, five hospitals, including CUH, saw over 500 patients on trolleys.
However, the stats also show that the Mercy University Hospital has seen its numbers on trolleys more than halved since this time last year, from 354 to 127.
The INMO said that much of the overcrowding is down to understaffing, caused primarily by unattractively low pay levels in Irish nursing and midwifery.
According to the HSE census, as of September 2018, Ireland’s health service has 227 fewer staff nurses than December 2017.
“Over 9,000 patients forced to wait on trolleys and it’s not even peak winter season,” said INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha.
“Figures like these do not adequately express the hardship endured by patients who find themselves in these circumstances.
“The negative health impacts of this overcrowding are known, yet this is not addressed as a national priority,” she added.
The current health service simply does not have the capacity to cope, according to Ms Ni Sheaghdha.