Last month saw Portiuncula Hospital experience its worst September for patients on trolleys since records began.
There were a total of 167 patients on trolleys at Portiuncula Hospital last month, almost twice as many as the same period in 2019, and higher than any other year since 2006, when the INMO began recording trolley numbers.
Portiuncula was one of five hospitals in the country that has their worst recorded September this year according to the INMO.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said “Our members are sounding the alarm across the country. We are rapidly returning to the bad old days of overcrowding. COVID remains a significant threat and winter is fast approaching.”
“At the start of the pandemic, the HSE said there would be zero tolerance of overcrowding,” Phil Ní Sheaghdha said, warning that an air of complacency was allowing the problem to return in force.
Elsewhere in Galway, UHG had the fourth highest level of overcrowding in the country last month, with 805 patients going without a bed.
The INMO says that four nurses at University Hospital Galway have quit due to the conditions in its temporary emergency department.
The only year worse than 2021 for the month of September at UHG was in 2019, when overcrowding reached record highs.
This is true of the country as a whole as well. Overall, it is the second-worst-ever September for overcrowding in Ireland, with 8,414 on trolleys this year.
This only comes in behind September of 2019, when Irish hospitals were swamped by 10,641 patients going without a bed.
“Over the coming weeks we need to see planned funding for the implementation of safe staffing across the health service,” Phil Ní Sheaghdha said.
A detailed winter plan is needed from the HSE, she said, adding that the risks are clear, and there is no excuse for not being prepared.