The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has recorded the highest number of patients on trolleys in 2022 with 669 patients without a hospital bed. The figures includes 28 children.
The top five most overcrowded hospitals on Tuesday were University Hospital Limerick (80), Cork University Hospital (72), Letterkenny University Hospital and St James’s Hospital (both 51), and University Hospital Galway (45).
INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: "It is extremely concerning but not surprising that we have 669 patients on trolleys today. We have seen a 27 per cent increase of patients on trolleys in the last week.
“A range of measures must be taken now in the short to medium term including the curtailment of all non-emergency, elective care. Capacity from the private sector must be provided immediately. There needs to be a laser focus on the recruitment and retention of nurses and midwives.
“Hospitals must issue public statements encouraging people to consider alternative care pathways in the community and outline clearly what the real time waits are to be admitted to hospital are."
Ms Ní Sheaghdha added: “We are now calling on the Health Service Executive, Minister for Health and the Health and Safety Authority to take immediate action in the worst hit spots. The specialist teams for Cork University Hospital and University Hospital Galway must be deployed today.
“The health and safety of our members and the patients they are trying their best to care for must take priority. We know that they are currently operating in truly unsafe care environments.
“The fact of the matter is the HSE and Department of Health must do everything in their power to ensure that our hospitals are adequately staffed and that each hospital has the ability to retain staff who are currently overwhelmed by their workload. We cannot afford to have unacceptably high nursing staffing vacancies coupled with an overcrowding crisis.
“If Government and HSE are serious about keeping Irish nurses in Irish hospitals then they must take immediate action on safe staffing, fast tracking recruitment and getting private hospitals on the pitch now.”