INMO figures show 5,778 patients waited for a bed at Letterkenny University Hospital last year
Letterkenny University Hospital had the third-largest number of patients waiting for a bed in 2021, figures show.
Of the 70,275 patients that waited for a bed in Irish hospitals in 2021, 5,778 were at the Donegal hospital, figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) show.
The union has branded this year’s figures as an “unacceptable rise in overcrowding while we know this adds to the spread of COVID-19 in our hospitals”.
INMO’s figures also show an increase of 31% of patients on trolleys compared to the first year of the pandemic.
University Hospital Limerick had the highest number of patients waiting for a bed with 12,108, followed by Cork University Hospital with 7,411.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said the fact the numbers of patients on trolleys rose by 31% during the second year of the pandemic “is completely unacceptable”.
“Hospital overcrowding should never be acceptable, especially when we have a highly transmissible virus,” she said.
“Radical action is now needed to curb the unacceptable levels of overcrowding in our hospitals. This is not a new phenomenon; the health service cannot continue to make the same decisions year in year out and expect different outcomes.
“We have a nursing and midwifery workforce that are running on empty. They are looking for some kind of indication from their employer that things will be different this year. The commitment nurses and midwives have shown especially in the last month with the arrival of Omicron has been exemplary. While many staff are on COVID-related sick leave, others are cancelling leave and staying longer than they are rostered to ensure patients are looked after.
“The INMO has raised red flag, after red flag with the HSE and Government. We need to see urgent action by curtailing all non-emergency activity in our public hospitals.”
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