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Record 25,000 on trolleys, warn nurses

THE hospital beds crisis is deepening with a record 25,000 people on trolleys in the first three months of the year, it was claimed today.

The figures confirm that the crisis in hospital A&E departments continues to worsen, said the Nurses and Midwives Association.

And it comes "despite all of the repeated commitments by Government and management, that this issue will be addressed", the association added.

There were 472 patients on trolleys or chairs in hospital emergency units yesterday, the nurses' organisation said.

St Vincent's Hospital, in Dublin, and Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda each had 41 patients on trolleys.

Tallaght Hospital in Dublin had 38 patients waiting.

Beaumont Hospital, University College Hospital, in Galway, and Cavan General Hospital have also had ongoing overcrowding, the INMO said.


"This record level of overcrowding was inevitable as a result of the cutbacks in health services including closed beds and the reduction in community based home supports and services," INMO boss Liam Doran said.

"This chronic situation will be further exacerbated if the threat of more beds to be closed, as recently suggested, comes to pass," it warned.

"Overcrowding wards, in an effort to hide the extent of the problem, is only resulting in the care of all in-patients being compromised leading to incidents of hospital infection.

"This quarterly survey only reaffirms the need for immediate, effective and sustained measures to be introduced, which must include additional bed capacity, in order to alleviate this problem."

Mr Doran said he was seeking an early meeting with Health Minister James Reilly to discuss overcrowding and other issues. The minister has promised to tackle overcrowding but has refused to open closed beds.