THE rising number of patients waiting on trolleys in Cork is of “grave concern”, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
New Trolleywatch figures revealed that Cork University Hospital was among the hospitals with the highest number of patients waiting on trolleys in Ireland this month.
According to the INMO, the hospital had 688 patients on trolleys in October.
The figure was lower than that seen in University Hospital Limerick and University Hospital Galway but still landed the county among the top four on the list.
Meanwhile, “record overcrowding” was seen at the Mercy University Hospital.
“Nineteen hospitals have seen their trolley figures double compared to October 2020,” the INMO said in a statement released this week.
“This rapid rise is of grave concern.”
The figures also showed that there were five times as many children on trolleys this month compared to October 2020.
The hospital with the highest numbers of patients on trolleys was University Hospital Limerick with 1,369.
Overall, 54,456 people have spent time on trolleys so far this year compared to the 45,038 people recorded at the same time last year.
“This month’s trolley figures are an indication of what lies ahead for patients and staff in our health service if action is not taken,” said INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha.
“These figures come in the backdrop of rapidly increasing Covid-19 cases, increased hospitalisations and an increased number of nurses and midwives becoming infected.”
The organisation has called on Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to outline a detailed plan for the coming months that includes funding for a safe-staffing framework and details of what capacity will be made available from the private sector this winter.
“At the start of the pandemic, the HSE said there would be zero tolerance of overcrowding. Our hospitals are no longer just full, they are overcrowded,” Ms Ní Sheaghdha said.
“We are hearing examples in our hospitals of one nurse to fifteen patients in a ward. This is not a safe environment.
“We know that is going to be a difficult period ahead. We cannot allow a situation where we have a repeat of trolley numbers that we saw in 2019.”