Monday 27 January 2020

'Clear danger to patients and staff' - 'extreme overcrowding' continues as 760 people without beds

Some 760 patients were waiting for a bed yesterday (stock photo)
Some 760 patients were waiting for a bed yesterday (stock photo)

Eilish O’Regan

Patients face another day of trolley misery as overcrowding remains at a critical level, leaving 760 people waiting for a bed for the second morning in a row.

The toll of 760 patients on trolleys set a new record yesterday.

However, nurses and doctors have now clashed over whether operations for waiting list patients be cancelled to free up beds.

The doctors said cancer patients waiting for a number of time-critical procedures are among cancellations.

Figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation show the worst hit hospitals for patients on trolleys are;

  • University Hospital Limerick – 75
  • University Hospital Galway – 51
  • Cork University Hospital – 47
  • Letterkenny University Hospital - 47
  • South Tipperary General Hospital – 44

The INMO has written to the Minister for Health calling for;

  • A declaration of a major incident at the worst-affected hospitals;
  • Immediate approval for all posts awaiting sign-off in nursing and midwifery across all acute hospitals;
  • Cancellation of elective procedures in the worst-affected hospitals;
  • An infection control plan;
  • Closure to non-emergency admissions in worst-affected hospitals;
  • Sourcing of additional beds in the private and voluntary sectors;
  • An end to the recruitment ban

Read More: Explainer: January trolley crisis is predictable but seems impossible to prevent

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said: “This extreme overcrowding presents a clear danger to patients and staff alike. It requires immediate political intervention to stabilise our hospitals.

However, the Irish Hospital Consultants Association warned non-emergency surgery did not mean non-essential.

Referring to the decision to cancel surgery in Cork University Hospital the doctors said: ”It is understood that vulnerable patients awaiting essential surgery will be impacted by the decision as timely access to planned procedures is critical.

"This includes cancer patients waiting for a number of time-critical procedures. “

Read More: Philip Ryan: 'Heated showdown in live TV debate could be make or break for Varadkar and Martin'

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