INMO claims trolley crisis ‘out of control’ last week

THE SITUATION with admitted patients stranded on trolleys with no hospital beds in the last week is “out of control”, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has claimed.

In University Hospital Limerick (UHL) last week there were between 110 and 113 admitted patients without a bed up to Friday. The figures were the worst in the country.

The union says more than 1,591 patients had been on trolleys countrywide from Monday to Wednesday last week, with 512 patients waiting for a bed on Thursday.

So far in May, there were 7,287 patients on trolleys, according to INMO Trolley Watch figures, with 22 per cent of overcrowding taking place last week.

INMO director of professional services Tony Fitzpatrick said this type of overcrowding “is not normal for the month of May”.

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“This level of unacceptable overcrowding, coupled with the fact that nurses and midwives are constantly working short in many emergency departments and wards because of the HSE’s recruitment freeze, is bad news for patient and staff safety,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.

He called for the lifting or the recruitment moratorium, which he says is hitting staffing despite claims that frontline staff are exempt.

“Many funded nursing vacancies that are arising because of staff retiring, leaving, or going on maternity leave are remaining unfilled because of the recruitment freeze,” he said.

“This is having a detrimental impact on staff morale and wellbeing. We have many reports of nurses being interviewed for posts and accepting posts, but no start dates have been provided to them.

“The freeze is still in place when there is unprecedented demand on our health services, meaning that various departments and community services are working short.

“This level of overcrowding warrants a serious response from the HSE and individual hospital groups and cannot be allowed to continue into the summer. All vacant nursing and midwifery posts must be filled immediately by lifting the recruitment moratorium”.