University Hospital Galway was the third most overcrowded hospital in Ireland in December, and for all of 2022, with over 10,000 people on trolleys.
There were 10,150 patients on trolleys at UHG across the entire year, INMO figures show, and 767 in December alone.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation says that this has been the worst year on record for hospital overcrowding in Ireland.
“Our members have spent this year working in a constant state of crisis,” INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said of 2022.
“Nurses are unfortunately ending this year how they started it — firefighting intolerable overcrowding coupled with highly transmissable viruses and infections.”
“INMO members in triage and emergency departments in Ireland’s busiest hospitals are highlighting how the conditions are comprising patient safety.”
She said that past experience has shown that trolley numbers could rise dramatically in the first few weeks of January.
This is not something that can be faced unprepared, she said, adding that the there has been “silent acceptance” from the state on overcrowding for too long.
“The HSE have acknowledged that things are going to get worse in our hospitals before they get better but have not outlined what precise supports will be made available to our members in the coming days and weeks ahead.”
“The HSE has a duty as an employer and as a service provider to take the necessary steps to scale up capacity.”
The INMO said that the current state of the health system is deeply concerning, and that the HSE needs to have a realistic plan to address the dangerous situation emerging.