Irish hospitals are experiencing the worst overcrowding since the Covid-19 pandemic began, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
The union said 395 patients were being treated on trolleys in hospitals this morning, and warned that overcrowding mixed with poor ventilation could put hospitals at risk of becoming “infection hotspots”.
The highest previous figure for patients on trolleys since the pandemic began was 385 on August 10th.
The most overcrowded hospitals are:
- Cork University Hospital – 50 patients on trolleys
- University Hospital Limerick – 42 patients on trolleys
- University Hospital Galway – 37 patients on trolleys
- Sligo University Hospital – 29 patients on trolleys
- Letterkenny University Hospital – 27 patients on trolleys
- Mayo University Hospital – 27 patients on trolleys
INMO on Tuesday called for protection for frontline staff, including “audits and action” for ventilation in healthcare workplaces.
The union's general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “Overcrowded hospitals can act as infection hotspots for Covid. Vaccination has made a massive difference, but there are still big dangers for frontline healthcare workers.
“They are being regularly exposed to the virus and our members have reported long-term impacts. We need maximum protection for frontline staff.
“We need to see proper audits of every healthcare workplace to ensure that ventilation meets a high standard. We have a huge amount of data on how this virus spreads – now it is time to act on it.”