Nurses dread ‘twindemic’ winter as 9,191 patients on trolleys in July

Nurses dread ‘twindemic’ winter as 9,191 patients on trolleys in July
Photo: PA Images

James Cox

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has warned a 'twindemic' winter, of Covid-19 and the flu, could cause chaos in hospitals after trolley number hit 9,191 in July.

Over 9,191 patients went without a bed in the month of July, a 52 per cent increase on July 2021.

The most overcrowded hospitals in the month of July include:

  • University Hospital Limerick: 1,268 patients
  • Cork University Hospital: 1,000 patients
  • University Hospital Galway: 998 patients
  • St Vincent’s University Hospital: 692 patients
  • Sligo University Hospital: 617 patients

INMO director of professional services Tony Fitzpatrick said: “The level of hospital overcrowding we have seen throughout this summer has been a cause of serious concern. Since the beginning of May we have seen 27,832 patients without a bed in Irish hospitals including 9,191 in July. The fact that 95 children under the age of sixteen have been without hospital beds in July should absolutely not be tolerated.

“Unless we see a hospital-by-hospital plan to tackle overcrowding, we are in for a very bleak winter in Irish hospitals which will see nurses and patients in extremely unsafe circumstances."

Mr Fitzpattrick added: “We need to heed the warnings from our colleagues in Australia when it comes to mitigating the impact of both flu and Covid in Irish hospitals over the coming months. We cannot afford to have a Covid and flu ‘twindemic’ in Irish hospitals this winter. Vaccinations for both Covid and flu should be offered to healthcare workers as soon as possible.

“Nurses and other healthcare staff cannot be expected to sustain this type of pressure right into the winter. If the Government and HSE are serious about retaining those who already work in the health service, meaningful action must be taken to ensure safe care conditions for both patients and staff. No nurse wants to have to care for patients in sub-optimal conditions.”