Number of patients on trolleys in November down on last year
The number of patients waiting on hospital trolleys has continued at record levels for the first 11 months of the year.
However, the latest figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has offered a small chink of light, with figures down 7pc in November compared to the same month a year ago.
In the first 11 months of the year, a record 91,147 admitted patients languished on trolleys in Emergency Departments (EDs) or wards - a 6pc increase compared to the same period in 2016 and a whopping 95pc increase on the first 11 months of 2007.
Last month there were 6,212 admitted patients on trolleys in EDs and 2,476 patients on trolleys or extra beds on inpatient wards. This means a total of 8,688 admitted patients did not have a proper inpatient bed.
The hospitals with the highest number of patients on trolleys in November were University Hospital Limerick (878), University Hospital Cork (651), University Hospital Waterford (624), University Hospital Galway (539) and Letterkenny General Hospital (502).
Ahead of a meeting of the Emergency Department Taskforce on Thursday, INMO general secretary Liam Doran said the placing of extra patients on already understaffed inpatient wards was not an appropriate response to the overcrowding crisis.
"The reduction in the numbers on trolleys in Emergency Departments is particularly welcome. However, the very significant increase in additional patients on inpatient wards, on trolleys or additional beds, is most disturbing and suggests hospital management are increasingly repeating the mistakes of the past.
"Overcrowding wards has never solved the problem...and this will only be done through additional acute beds," he added.
The INMO said it will be seeking confirmation at this week's meeting that hospitals will be allowed to open all available beds and packages are introduced to recruit more nurses.