Trolley crisis hits winter levels as near-record numbers wait for a bed
Hospital overcrowding topped winter levels yesterday as 546 patients across the country endured delays on trolleys waiting for a bed.
The worst hit was University Hospital Limerick, which reached a near record high of 76 patients without a bed.
Cork University Hospital had 61 patients on trolleys and there were 56 on trolleys in University Hospital Galway.
It came despite a new report saying all the extra 75 acute beds and 70 community beds promised under last winter's winter plan are open.
Connolly Hospital in Dublin got 20 new beds, the highest number.
Cork University Hospital only received an additional five beds under the plan.
A HSE spokeswoman said the plan to cope with the demands on hospitals in the coming winter are still being finalised.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said 9,562 patients, including 48 children, were forced to wait without a bed last month - the highest number ever recorded in August.
Hospitals in Limerick, Cork, Galway, south Tipperary and Waterford were worst hit.
"This is the tragic ongoing reality in Ireland's health service," INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said.
"To see nearly 10,000 patients on trolleys is bad in itself, but this is a summer month. These figures signal an even more dangerous winter, when extra demands are typically placed on hospitals.
"At the core of the problem is staffing, as there are well over 1,300 nursing and midwifery vacancies."