THE number of patients on trolleys at University Hospital Kerry (UHK) reached record levels last month with the INMO reporting the highest monthly total since 2006.
Figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s Trolley Watch service show that, in June at UHK, 345 patients spent long periods on trolleys, waiting for a bed.
It is the highest June figure at UHK since the Trolley Watch service launched in 2006.
In June 2006, 102 patients spent time on UHK trolleys, but by the following year, the monthly total was just seven.
The average June figure hovered at around 50 until 2014, when it began to rise, eventually reaching 233 in June 2019.
COVID restrictions in 2020 and 2021 saw the June Trolley figures fall back to the 50s, but this year they once again soared to reach the new record level.
The INMO has called on the Government to take urgent steps to address the situation, including the reintroduction of masks in busy public places and convening the Emergency Department Taskforce.
“It has been a June like we have never seen in Irish hospitals with out-of-control hospital overcrowding coupled with rising COVID hospitalisations. In 16 years of counting trolleys, we’ve never seen June figures higher than the preceding January,” said INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha, who is from Ceann Trá in west Kerry.
“Nurses are constantly raising the dangers associated with overcrowding. The figures for June are out of control and a stark warning of what is to come for the autumn and winter period, considering none of the mitigation measures necessary are being implemented.
“This level of overcrowding warrants senior HSE and government attention, it is not okay and it is not safe,” said Ms Ní Sheaghdha.