Hospitals across the country are preparing for a ‘dangerous’ winter season ahead, as hospital overcrowding has already worsened.
According to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), this month was the worst August they have ever had with overcrowding.
The organisation has reported that more than 9,720 patients were admitted this month without access to a bed. Of those patients, 167 of them were children.
This month’s figure has been confirmed to have broken overcrowding statistics for the same time last year. In August 2022, 9,603 patients were admitted to hospital without a bed.
University Hospital Limerick reported the highest amount of overcrowding across the country, with 1,885 patients failing to receive a bed upon admission. Cork University Hospital followed behind in second place, with 984 patients suffering overcrowding.
With these shocking figures, the INMO has expressed concerns that extensive time on trolleys can damage the health of patients. The group has argued that spending more than six hours on a hospital trolley can increase your rate of mortality by over 8%.
INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha stated that there is "no doubt" that the next few months will be "difficult and dangerous" for Irish hospitals, as the winter flu season takes hold.
"The summer period used to see an easing off in overcrowding figures but this year numbers admitted to inappropriate spaces, trolleys and chairs have been alarmingly high too early in the season,” she explained, adding that last year’s winter was “beyond what we could have imagined.”
“"The ongoing increase shows how urgently we need to implement safe staffing legislation, so that hospitals have sufficient staff to diagnose, treat and discharge patients safely, and vulnerable people are not languishing on trolleys and chairs for days at a time,” she insisted.