INMO calls for action as number of patients on trolleys hits new high
The number of patients on trolleys in the country's emergency departments has reached record levels, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwife's Organisation (INMO).
The union's 'trolley watch' found a total of 6,751 patients were admitted to hospital on trolleys in the month of July.
It comes after the months of May and June 2016 saw a significant reduction in the number of patients finding themselves in hospital without an in-patient bed.
The figures represent a 1pc increase when compared to the same time in 2015.
But the statistics are 95pc worse than they were in 2006, when the then health minister, Mary Harney, declared the overcrowding situation a "national emergency".
University Hospital Limerick was found to have the most ED patients on trolleys in July 2015, with 649.
The hospital with the most patients on trolleys in Dublin was Tallaght Hospital, with 442 patients.
Liam Doran, general secretary of the INMO, said the organisation was very disappointed with the figures.
"These July figures are extremely disappointing and indicate the health system continues to underestimate the challenges arising within our emergency departments," he said.
He also called on the health service to invest in the recruitment of more nurses and to increase bed capacity to meet the demand.
"The INMO has consistently said ED overcrowding and waiting lists difficulties cannot, and will not, be solved without additional nursing staff and an increase in bed capacity," he added. "These issues will be at the centre of our forthcoming discussions with the Minister for Health and the director general of the HSE."
Liam Doran and HSE director general Tony O'Brien are set to meet Health Minister Simon Harris.
A HSE spokesperson said an 8am trolley count taken on August 9, 2016 showed a reduction of around 12pc in the number of patients on trolleys compared with the same day last year.