Trolley crisis 'will get worse'
The "dehumanising" conditions endured by patients in A&E departments are in danger of getting worse next winter, doctors and nurses have warned.
Speaking at the Oireachtas Health Committee yesterday, unions expressed fears an extra 600 beds which are promised to cope with winter overcrowding will not be in place.
Phil Ni Sheaghdha, head of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, said there were scores of patients on trolleys again yesterday despite the good weather. She said patients and nurses "face massive overcrowding in emergency departments, with a record high of 714 patients on trolleys one day this year".
Responding to Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly's claim that Irish nurses were well paid compared to other countries, Ms Ní Sheaghdha said: "Irish nursing wages simply aren't at the races when it comes to the international job market.
"Without a pay increase, the health service will not be able to maintain existing capacity, never mind the growth required for a growing and ageing population," she said.
Dr Peadar Gilligan, president of the Irish Medical Organisation and an emergency consultant, said extra beds are essential if the trolley crisis is to ease.