Over 4,000 people sat on trolleys at Waterford University Hospital in 2018

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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Over 4,000 people sat on trolleys at Waterford University Hospital in 2018

Over 4,000 people sat on trolleys at Waterford University Hospital in 2018

Throughout the 12 months of the year, 4,319 patients were without a bed at Waterford University Hospital, INMO figures revealed on Wednesday

108,227 patients went without hospital beds in 2018 – a record high, according to new analysis. Waterford's figure actually decreased year-on-year with 5,525 left without a bed throughout 2017.

The figures nationally, however, are a 9% increase on 2017, which was itself a record high. This is nearly double the number in 2006 (55,720), when INMO records began.
 
2018’s months with the highest figures were January (12,201), February (10,772) and March (10,511).
 
The worst-hit hospitals included:

Limerick University Hospital – 11,437
Cork University Hospital – 9,135
Galway University Hospital – 7,452
Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore – 5,831
Tallaght University Hospital – 5,432

Smaller hospitals also saw record overcrowding. South Tipp General Hospital, for example, had 5,201 patients on trolleys this year.
 
The INMO blames the crisis on low capacity and understaffing. The organisation has asked the government to work with the INMO to develop real proposals that will resolve the recruitment and retention crisis in nursing.
 
95% of INMO nurses and midwives voted in favour of industrial action before Christmas. The INMO Executive will meet on the 7th and 8th of January to set dates for strikes.
 
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:
 
“Despite the government spin, 2018 was the worst year on record for overcrowding. Negative records were set throughout the year, with over 100,000 admitted patients forced to wait on trolleys and chairs, without a proper bed. We know that this dramatically worsens outcomes for our patients.
 
“The health service does not have enough beds to support our population. More beds means more nurses, but the HSE simply can’t hire enough on these wages. It’s beyond time for the government to engage proactively with the INMO to resolve the crisis in Irish nursing and midwifery.
 
“Patients should be focused on recovering, but instead have to worry about waiting times, understaffing and a lack of beds. 2019 must-see real changes in policy and funding to resolve this once and for all.”