Number of patients on trolleys in Cork hospital highest since start of pandemic 

CONCERNS have been raised about overcrowding at a Cork hospital as the number of patients waiting for a bed reached the highest since the start of the pandemic.

According to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), the number of patients waiting for beds at Cork University Hospital (CUH) this morning was the highest since the start of the pandemic.

The union stated that 63 patients were waiting on trolleys in CUH on Tuesday, with a total of 332 waiting for beds in hospitals around the country.

It comes as the INMO released its total trolley figures for the month of August, stating that 6,367 patients were waiting for beds across the country in the last month.

This was more than double the number in August 2020 when over 3,000 were waiting for a bed.

INMO Industrial Relations Officer for CUH, Liam Conway said: “The situation is out of control and extremely dangerous.

“The rate of overcrowding in CUH is now so high that we can’t maintain the proper infection control measures needed to prevent the spread of COVID.” 

 Mr Conway said there is “an urgent need” for additional beds and the appropriate staffing increases.

“But we also need more capacity in the community so people can be discharged at the right time and space is used properly," he said.

“This is very quickly approaching the record overcrowding we saw before the pandemic, but COVID is very much still an issue. Our members and their patients are being put at risk, and it cannot be allowed to continue.”

 INMO Director of Industrial Relations Tony Fitzpatrick described the situation as “completely unacceptable".

 “Government plans for opening back up society need to include extra healthcare capacity and supports for our healthcare staff, who are burnt out and exhausted.

“Increasing pressure on our members now without proper measures to deal with the demands on the health service is going to drive nurses and midwives out of their professions and out of the country.”

A spokesperson for Cork University Hospital (CUH) said:

“Cork University Hospital (CUH) has been exceptionally busy over the last number of days. Due to this increased level of activity and subsequent admissions, it is regrettable that some patients may experience a delay in the ED.

"The increase in attendance is due to the large number of very ill medical patients requiring admission and the impact of COVID-19 has also contributed to increased attendances in the Emergency Department."

They said that the pressure on the Emergency Department has been exacerbated by the continued impact of the recent Cyber Attack on the HSE.

"Hospital management have requested that, where appropriate, the public contact their GP/South Doc in the first instance and explore all other options available to them prior to attending the Emergency Department if their needs are not urgent. 

"Patient care is paramount in CUH and this situation is being treated as a priority by Hospital Management who have taken steps to address this issue.”

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