Record overcrowding in hospitals with 2,000 less beds – Nurses
Published 05/09/2011 | 11:45
The hospital system is being choked by record levels of overcrowding due to the closure of nearly 2,000 beds in the public health service according to a new survey.
A study by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) on the extent of overcrowding found that 1,947 beds closed in the sector over the last five years, resulting in the highest ever levels of overcrowding in Emergency Departments.
The organisation's General Secretary, Liam Doran, today blamed the rising rate of acute bed closures, together with the cutbacks in long-term bed numbers and general pruning of funds aimed at community services for having such a devastating impact on the quality of care being provided to patients.
He stressed that the current problems could not be solved by hiding the problem with extra beds on wards.
The serious nature of the problem was reflected in last month's figures when 6,624 people were forced to wait on trolleys for a bed following a decision to admit them for care.
This was an increase of 35pc on the same period last year. The INMO recorded 401 people on trolleys in Emergency Departments at the end of last month.
Overall figures show that despite the fact there are an estimated 12,000 acute beds in the public hospital system, overcrowding level had jumped to 106pc over the past four years, according to the IMNO.
According to the HSE's own performance system, five out of six main Dublin hospitals are ranked as unsatisfactory in terms of the performance of their emergency departments.
The best performing hospital is St James's, where just over 10pc of patients had to wait six to 12 hours for admission.