Today marks a milestone in Irish healthcare as the number of patients on trolleys this year has passed 100,000 for the first time since records began.
University Hospital Galway is the third most overcrowded hospital in the country with 6,821 patients on trolleys so far this year.
With another month of winter left to go we can expect that number to climb well over 7,000 by Christmas.
The only hospitals with more people on trolleys than UHG are Cork University Hospital (8,566) and University Hospital Limerick (10,554).
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said, “It’s not even December and we’ve already broken the record for the most patients on trolleys.”
Behind these statistics she says, “are vulnerable individual patients, forced to wait in unsafe, uncomfortable conditions.
“Frontline health workers are pulling out all the stops to deliver care in impossible circumstances. But the health service simply does not have enough capacity or staff.”
“Adding extra beds requires extra nurses and midwives. Without addressing the recruitment and retention crisis, the HSE will not be able to recruit enough nurses and midwives to resolve this crisis.”
In 2017, with a major winter crisis in hospitals, by year’s end there had been 98,981 patients on trolleys, with UHG finishing the year with 6,563 patients on trolleys.
The INMO has been recording the number of patients in hospital without a bed since 2004.
Prior to this year, 2017 was the worst year on record.