University Hospital Galway was the most overcrowded hospital in the State last month, with 1,166 patients on trolleys during the worst August on record.
UHG was closely followed by University Hospital Limerick where 1,130 people were on trolleys and Cork University Hospital which saw 919 waiting for a bed.
A total of 9,603 patients went without a hospital bed in Irish hospitals in August, according to new figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.
The union’s general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said that the overcrowding we have seen this summer is sounding the alarm for ‘a very bleak winter ahead’ unless immediate action is taken. by the Minister for Health and the HSE.
She called for a fully funded winter plan which should be published prior to the Emergency Taskforce reconvening in September.
Ní Sheaghdha said that is not good enough to publish a plan for winter when healthcare workers and patients are in the throes of a winter crisis.
“For the first time since September 2021, University Hospital Limerick is not the worst overcrowded hospital.
“This is due in part to the work of the expert team led by Dr Mike O’Connor by listening to what nursing ward managers staff nurses and nursing managers have been constantly saying; and now this team are actioning into improving the operational processes in UHL which has seen significant results.
“This has been achieved by ramping up the discharge and internal/external patient flow processes through robust implementation by the Review Team.”
Ní Sheaghdha said that what has been implemented in University Hospital Limerick in the last six weeks must be replicated in other hospitals with chronic overcrowding problems.
She added that it should not take this union and its members consistently shining a spotlight on problems with overcrowding for action to be taken.
“As we head into a winter of unknowns in our health service, the Minister for Health and senior HSE management must make it their business to take every step that they can to protect nurses, midwives and patients.
“We know that over 1,171 healthcare workers have contracted COVID in the past four weeks. It is vital now that the booster and flu vaccines are provided to healthcare workers. The health and safety of our healthcare workforce and patients depends on it.”