SIX HUNDRED and eighty-one people were waiting on trolleys throughout January at University Hospital Galway – the highest number on record for the first month of the year.
January saw sixty-three more people on trolleys than in the same month last year, and it is a dramatic increase from January 2006, when just 155 were on trolleys.
The latest figures released by the INMO show that January was the worst on record for many hospitals around the country, with a national increase of 18% on last January.
Speaking today, Phil Ni Sheaghdha, INMO General Secretary said: “This is an incredible level of overcrowding and the appalling conditions experienced in Emergency Departments are now beyond anything we have ever seen.
“It now amounts to a humanitarian crisis for patients and a risk rich environment for those trying to work in such chaotic conditions.”
Ms Ni Sheaghdha said that nurses in Emergency Departments and throughout hospitals are now working in appalling conditions.
“Health employers have completely fallen down on their statutory obligation to provide a safe place of work.”
Ms Ni Sheaghdha also pointed out that Section 8 of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act requires employers to carry out risk assessments and put in place mitigating measures to avoid those risks.
“Section 11 specifically describes the duties of the employer in relation to emergencies and serious and imminent dangers to their staff,” she said.