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29 Nov 2021

'Difficult winter ahead' says INMO

'Difficult winter ahead' says INMO

'Difficult winter ahead' says INMO

The number of patients on trolleys has almost doubled this October when compared to the same period in 2020, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation. 

The organisation said it has seen more patients on trolleys this October in all three of the children’s hospitals than any other October.

"Our figures show that there are five times as many children on trolleys compared to October 2020." they added.

Nineteen hospitals have seen trolley figures double compared to October 2020 and there was record overcrowding for the month of October in Letterkenny University Hospital, University Hospital Kerry, Mayo University Hospital, and Mercy University Hospital.

54,456 people on trolleys were recorded this year compared to 45,038 people on trolleys in the same time period in 2020, and the INMO has said there is 'grave concern' with these figures.

University Hospital Limerick saw the highest number of patients waiting for trolleys with 1,369 patients in October, University Hospital Letterkenny saw 943 patients, and University Hospital Galway had 829 patients waiting for beds. 

INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said these months' trolley figures are an indication of what lies ahead for the health service this coming winter.

She said: "We urgently need to see action on ensuring that patient-facing healthcare workers have every protection possible to keep them safe as infection numbers are reaching the high numbers we saw earlier this year."

The INMO is calling for booster vaccines to be extended to healthcare workers.

Hospitals are overcrowded and there has been no detailed plan from the HSE in terms of winter planning, according to Ms. Ní Sheaghdha.

The INMO is calling on the HSE and Minister Donnelly to outline in detail this week what they are planning for the months ahead and what capacity will be made available from the private sector

"If the HSE is planning to cancel electives, this decision needs to be taken now, not when the crisis is unmanageable." added Ms. Ní Sheaghdha.

The INMO said trolley numbers cannot be allowed to continue to rise as the health service continues to deal with Covid-19 this winter. 

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