New figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) show there was 11,856 patients on trolleys in Irish hospitals across the month of May, which includes 300 children.
This is an increase of 37 per cent on the number of patients on trolleys from this time last year. This figure is also higher than numbers in January this year.
University Hospital Limerick had the highest amount of patients on trolleys in May with a total of 1857 patients. Cork University Hospital with 1310 patients, while University Hospital Galway had 896 patients on trolleys in the last month.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “The number of patients we have seen on trolleys in the month of May are higher than January 2023, when we saw the worst levels of daily hospital overcrowding since the INMO began counting trolleys. This type of overcrowding at the beginning of summer must be immediately addressed to prevent an even more chaotic winter.
“Nurses are working in a system that has normalised over 500 people a day on trolleys. They have had little to no reprieve from overcrowding. Our members are reporting high levels of burnout and their intention to leave their current work area is higher than it has ever been.
“At yesterday’s meeting of the Emergency Department Taskforce, which the INMO co-chairs with the HSE, we were provided with stark warnings from public health experts that we are facing into another difficult winter when it comes to RSV and influenza. Corrective action must be taken now to ease the pressure in our hospitals.
“We need to see a laser-like focus from Government and the HSE to tackling the overcrowding crisis in our hospitals once and for all. The corrective measures we seek are proper planning of the cancellation of non-urgent elective surgery in line with public health projections; pre-arranged agreements with private acute hospitals to provide non-urgent elective surgery; and bespoke retention and recruitment initiatives to be implemented now to ensure staffing for additional capacity that is definitely going to be needed.”