The latest figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) reveal that 10,515 patients were left waiting on trolleys in September.
The astonishing figure is marked as the second-worst September on record.
This month 10,515 patients have been without a bed in Irish hospitals this month. We fear that we are on track to the worst winter on record.
The ongoing problems with hospital overcrowding are leaving nurses completely and utterly demoralised and their patients without dignity pic.twitter.com/aPkiSJfCpf
— Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation (@INMO_IRL) September 30, 2022
The organisation is warning that the State is "on the path to a catastrophic winter in our hospitals", adding that current conditions are unsafe for both nurses and their patients.
University Hospital Limerick (UHL) was the most overcrowded hospital in the country, with 1,382 patients waiting on trolleys this month.
They were followed by Cork University Hospital (1,260 patients), University Hospital Galway (1,032), Sligo University Hospital (790) and Letterkenny University Hospital (666).
The @INMO_IRL has recorded 10,515 people on trolleys in September and they warn of a ‘catastrophic’ winter ahead. The top 5 most overcrowded hospitals in Ireland in September 2022 were:
4 Sligo General
— Irish Medical Times 🇺🇦 (@IMT_latest) September 30, 2022
INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghda also criticised healthcare leaders for showing no clear vision as to how overcrowding would be managed over the coming months.
As reported by The Independent, Ms Ní Sheaghdha said the ongoing problems with overcrowding are leaving nurses “completely and utterly demoralised”.
“It is unsafe for nurses and the patients they care for. Besides a leaked draft winter plan, we have no clear vision from healthcare leaders as to what the solution for this winter is,” she said.
“We have a severe recruitment and retention problem within the health service. This week alone in a large teaching hospital in Dublin, over a dozen nurses working in a busy Emergency Department handed in their notice.
“Our members are now voting with their feet and saying that they will not stand for another winter where they are demoralised, burnt out and abused in their workplace because of the excessive workloads.”
Ms Ní Sheaghdha said University Hospital Limerick is “once again the most overcrowded hospital in the country, despite promises from senior hospital management that things have improved”.
“The INMO visited the hospital this week and saw firsthand the conditions our members are working in. There is no dignity for patients who end up in UHL,” she said.
“Their care is no doubt being compromised because of the conditions. It is not enough for the Minister for Health and senior HSE leadership to acknowledge that we are in for an undesirable winter.
“We need to know when the private hospitals will be coming on the pitch, we need to know what exact measures are being implemented to keep our nurses in the system when extra capacity will be coming through in communities to allow discharging of patients to happen in a timely manner.
“Patients need assurances that they will be cared for in a safe environment that ensures their care is not compromised.”