Limerick most overcrowded hospital in record year for overcrowding

An overcrowded emergency department is a common sight at University Hospital Limerick.

UNIVERSITY Hospital Limerick (UHL) has emerged as Ireland’s most overcrowded hospital in the worst year for hospital overcrowding on record.

That’s according to figures collated by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation which show that more than 118,662 patients have been without a hospital bed so far in 2022.

The previous record for hospital overcrowding was 118,367 in 2019.

The figures show that the five most overcrowded hospitals from January 4 to December 21 were University Hospital Limerick  (17,640); Cork University Hospital (12,133); Galway University Hospital (10,012); Sligo University Hospital (7,977) and St Vincent’s University Hospital (7,406).

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said that the latest figures showed there was no sign of pressure easing in emergency departments compared to previous Decembers.

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“We have reached an overcrowding milestone in that 2022 is officially the worst year for hospital overcrowding on record. This is not something to be celebrated,” she declared..

“It is clear that there is a dearth of ambition to tackle this extremely serious problem. We commend that some hospital groups have curtailed non-urgent care and asked that people seek alternative care pathways if they can, but it is clear that the HSE and the Government are not taking this issue as seriously as they should be.

“Our members are under serious pressure, particularly those working in triage and in emergency departments. Long delays, inadequate bed space and unsafe staffing are making it impossible to provide safe care.

“Silence from decision makers shows that this out-of-control overcrowding is accepted when it absolutely shouldn’t be. The State must do better for our nurses, healthcare workers and patients sick enough to be admitted to hospital,” Ms Ní Sheaghdha concluded.