Wednesday 22 January 2020

Record year for patients waiting on trolleys

The number of patients waiting on trolleys at Sligo University Hospital last year increased by 784.

The annual figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) confirm that the hospital is following the national trend for increased numbers of people on trolleys this year.

In Sligo the numbers on trolleys stood at 4,967 at the end of 2019, compared to 4,183 in 2018. In 2009 the figure stood at 955.

The INMO has confirmed 2019 was the worst year on record for hospital overcrowding since records began, with figures 9% higher than 2018. Nationally, over 1,300 of the patients on trolleys were children younger than 16.

The INMO points to understaffing and a lack of capacity as key drivers of overcrowding.

The organisation has outlined that there are 411 fewer inpatient beds in Ireland's hospitals today than a decade ago, despite a larger, older population.

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said things are getting worse, not better.

"These figures should be falling, but we're going the wrong direction. 2019 saw thousands more patients without proper beds - often at one of the most vulnerable points in their lives."

Ms Ní Sheaghdha pointed out overcrowding was now a an all-year problem which now gets worse in the winter.

"The most frustrating part is that we know how to solve this problem: increase staffing and bed capacity, expand community care, and get going with the Sláintecare reforms."

Sligo Champion