Trolley crisis: patient numbers hit highest level this year
THE number of patients on trolleys surged to 617 today – the highest so far this year.
The overcrowding is worse than in January when 606 patients were waiting for a bed.
Worst hit are Cork University Hospital where 55 are on trolleys and University Hospital Limerick which was trying to find beds for 51 patients.
Also struggling is South Tipperary General Hospital which has 48 patients on trolleys.
The latest gridlock comes as the funding for the winter initiative which was mostly poured into the traditional worst weeks has run out.
Hospitals now have to carry out more operations on waiting list patients which means there are less beds available for people coming from A&E.
The HSE said that over the past 18 months, an additional 241 beds have been opened nationally.
The HSE Winter Plan includes the opening of an additional 75 beds in early 2019, including 5 acute inpatient beds in Letterkenny University Hospital.
The plan also seeks to ensure that the health system is as prepared as possible for the increase in demand on services over the winter months, within existing capacity and financial parameters.
The National Service Plan 2019 provides for the preparation of 202 additional beds, to be operational in the first part of 2020, including 15 inpatient beds in Letterkenny University Hospital.