Over 360 patients were on trolleys in St Luke's Hospital last month - one of the highest in the country.
Just six hospitals had more patients on trolleys than the Carlow/Kilkenny facility, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation figures for August.
With 365 patients recorded on trolleys in St Luke’s, this year saw one of the busiest Augusts on record at the hospital and the third highest number of people ever recorded on beds at the facility for that month.
However, the figure was still a substantial drop on last year’s when a total of 432 people had no bed. That was the most overcrowded the local hospital has been in August since records began there in 2010.
The INMO’s monthly Trolley Watch analysis shows that 7,911 admitted patients were forced to wait on chairs or trolleys in August 2018 – an increase of 2% on last year. 30 children were among those waiting without a bed.
Last month just six hospitals had more patients on trolleys than St Luke’s – they are Cork University Hospital, Letterkenny, Galway, Limerick, Tullamore and Waterford.
The hospitals with the highest figures were:
• University Hospital Limerick: 969
• University Hospital Galway: 619
• Cork University Hospital: 604
INMO general secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha said: “Even though it was a mild month, patients and staff faced record overcrowding. Nearly 8,000 sick and injured people were forced to wait without a bed.
“The message from the frontline is clear: this all comes down to pay. The HSE simply cannot find enough nurses and midwives to work on these wages.
"It’s no coincidence that Limerick has had such a bad month, as they have over 70 unfilled nursing vacancies.
“Unless nurses and midwives get pay equality with similarly-qualified health professionals, vacancies will remain open and things will only get worse.”
The INMO will meet the HSE and the Department of Health at the Workplace Relations Commission next week, to discuss understaffing and overcrowding. The INMO is asking the HSE to present plans for dealing with the winter crisis, including which hospital services they plan to curtail to meet extra demand.
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