Hospitals see highest numbers on trolleys since March in ‘toxic Covid combination’

ireland
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Digital Desk staff

Irish hospitals are seeing the highest number of people on trolleys today since Covid-19 restrictions were introduced in March.

There are 221 people on trolleys around the country waiting for beds, figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) show.

The union has said that overcrowding and Covid-19 are making for a "toxic combination" that is increasing the risk of infection while endangering both staff and patients.

The worst affected hospitals are Cork University Hospital with 50 patients on trolleys, closely followed by University Hospital Limerick which has 41 patients on trolleys.

Infection control is necessarily compromised in a hospital with patients in corridors and on trolleys.

INMO Industrial Relations Officer for Cork University Hospital, Liam Conway, said the overcrowding is worrying hospital staff: “Covid and overcrowding make for a toxic combination.

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“This is a deadly virus and our frontline members are rightly worried for their safety and that of their patients. Infection control is necessarily compromised in a hospital with patients in corridors and on trolleys.

“The HSE assured us that there would be no tolerance of overcrowding during Covid. Yet no actions have been taken and we are sleepwalking back to mass overcrowding.”

INMO said that in a letter to its union in May, the HSE pledged that “overcrowded health and social care facilities will no longer be tolerated” and it is now calling for direct government intervention to fulfil that pledge.

“It is time for direct government intervention, especially ahead of the annual winter surge. We need to fund extra beds, expand step-down care, and fund additional home care packages. And this all needs a funded workforce plan to recruit additional nurses and midwives immediately,” Mr Conway said.

The hospitals with the highest numbers of patients on trolleys today include:

  • Cork University Hospital: 50
  • University Hospital Limerick: 41
  • Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar: 25
  • Mayo University Hospital: 22
  • Sligo University Hospital: 14
  • Crumlin children’s hospital: 13

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