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Time to fix A&E trolley problem

Yesterday morning saw 41 patients waiting on trolleys for treatment in Beaumont Hospital's Accident and Emergency Department.

Nurses at the hospital - one of the city's busiest - counted 729 patients in a similar predicament during the month of November, the highest number in the country.

This problem is nothing new.

Staff at hospitals around the country have been counting patients on trolleys for years, with the lengthy wait for beds blamed on overcrowding and under-staffing.

Now the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation is saying its members can no longer tolerate the situation because it is, in their words, "unsafe".

The lunchtime walk-out by nurses at Beaumont is the first in a series of protests planned to highlight the extent of the issue.

The hospital, the HSE and Department of Health have acknowledged there is a problem and said they are taking action. Hopefully, this time it will be effective.