Staff shortages blamed as 551 patients on hospital trolleys today

More than 500 patients are waiting for treatment on trolleys again today in Irish hospitals.

The latest total of 551, supplied by nurses' and midwives' group the INMO, shows the situation is worst in Letterkenny where there are 43 people waiting on a bed.

That is closely followed by University Hospital Galway, where there are 42 patients on trolleys.

It hit a record high of 676 patients waiting on a bed last week - although we have yet to see a peak of the flu season.

Yesterday, it emerged that a 94-year-old man spent more than 10 hours on a trolley at University Hospital Galway.

INMO general secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha said that a more permanent staffing shortage causing problems also.

"We know that we're 3,000 whole-time equivalents down from what we were in 2007, just before the moratorium on recruitment and promotion was introduced," he said.

"That was the biggest problem we ever had in nursing and midwifery, because in reality nursing and midwifery should have been exempt. They weren't.

"So every post that became vacant wasn't filled."

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty has defended the Government, saying that everything that can be done is being done to solve the crisis.

"The Minister for Health is in constant contact with the Emergency Task Force," she said.

"A number of senior decision-makers have now been put on rosters for the weekend and at evening times to make sure that we turn around people and make sure that decisions are being made in a timely fashion and the amount of beds that we have that can be opened are being opened.

"We are currently going through a recruitment process to actually get the staff to open those beds."

- Digital desk

 

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