02 Oct 2022

February saw Letterkenny Hospital trolley bed numbers rank third nationally

1,384 patients at Letterkenny and Sligo hospitals or 14% of all trolley bed patients in the country

February saw Letterkenny Hospital trolley bed numbers rank third nationally

Trolley bed numbers in NW for February make grim reading

Only two other acute hospitals in the country had more patients waiting on trolley beds than Letterkenny University Hospital (LUH) for the whole month of February, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) have said.

The hospital at Sligo (SUH) also ranked in the top five, which means that 14% of all trolley bed patients in the State that were waiting on bed admissions during the month of February were located in the north west's two acute hospitals at either Letterkenny and Sligo. 

The number of patients nationally on trolleys in February 2022 has exceeded pre-pandemic levels of 8,515 in 2019.

A total of of 9,869 patients were without a bed in the month of February according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation TrolleyWatch Report for February.

Of that total 1,384 trolley bed patients were located at LUH (766 patients) and SUH (618 patients). 

The hospitals with the highest level of overcrowding in the State include:

(1) University Hospital Limerick (1,498 patients on trolleys)
(2) Cork University Hospital (807 patients on trolleys)
(3) Letterkenny University Hospital (766 patients on trolleys)
(4) Galway University Hospital (731 patients on trolleys)
(5) Sligo University Hospital (618 patients on trolleys)

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said:

“It has been an incredibly difficult month in Irish hospitals with consistent overcrowding in all parts of the country.

“Our nurses and midwives are under severe pressure, they are dealing with huge numbers of COVID and non-COVID patients presenting at emergency departments coupled with in adequate staffing levels.

“We are once again back in the bad old days of hospital overcrowding, with numbers of patients on trolleys now exceeding pre-pandemic levels. The INMO has been sounding the alarm on this situation for too long. Our members are sick of apologising for the state of our health service to patients who have been waiting an unacceptable amount of time to be treated.

This isn’t an issue that is confined to one part of the country, aside from the top five overcrowded hospitals, we have seen significant overcrowding in St. Vincent’s University Hospital (585 patients) St. Luke’s General Hospital, Kilkenny (519 patients), Tipperary University Hospital (216 patients) Midlands Regional Mullingar (266 patients).

"The Saolta Hospital Group alone makes up for 30% of overcrowding in February. Bespoke plans to tackle overcrowding in each individual hospital are now badly needed.

“We know that if a patient is on a trolley for more than five hours it can have a significant knock-on impact on their health and indeed their mortality. State agencies such as the Department of Health, HIQA and the HSE need to step up to their responsibilities they have here and take decisive action. It is extremely disappointing that the HSE has not prioritised convening the Emergency Department Taskforce despite numerous requests.

“The INMO looks forward to presenting these issues at the Oireachtas Health Committee on March 9. It is very important that political system gets a real grasp of this country-wide problem that exists within our health service.”

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