The beds crisis has worsened at Letterkenny University Hospital
The number of people who have found themselves without beds at Letterkenny University Hospital has hit record levels.
According to the latest figures, a total of 5,363 people have found themselves without beds for a period of time at the hospital so far this year.
And with the whole of December still to come, the overall figure for 2019 is set to soar further.
The figure for the full year in 2018 was 5,174.
Nationally, 2019 has seen the highest number of patients on trolleys in any year since records began – despite it still being November.
As of today, 108,364 people have gone without beds in 2019 so far – breaking 2018’s record high of 108,227, with a full month left to go in the year.
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said: “Winter has only just begun and the record is already broken. These statistics are the hallmark of a wildly bureaucratic health service, which is failing staff and patients alike.
“We take no pleasure in having to record these figures for a decade and a half. We know the problem, but we also know the solutions: extra beds in hospitals, safe staffing levels, and more step-down and community care outside of the hospital.
“Five years ago, hospitals like Beaumont consistently faced the most extreme overcrowding problems in the country. They reduced that problem by adding beds and growing community care. Other services can do the same and must be allowed to do so.
“No other developed country faces anything close to this trolley problem. It can be solved, but a strong political agenda to drive change is needed.
“The INMO has written to the health and safety authorities this week to try force a change from the employers. Hospitals should be a place of safety and care – not danger.”
The figures count patients who are admitted to hospitals but do not have a bed. They are typically on trolleys in corridors or on chairs. The figures, compiled by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation counts the numbers in 32 hospitals each morning at 8 am.
The INMO is calling for extra staffing and an increase in hospital, homecare, and community capacity to deal with the problem.
The union has invoked health and safety laws for staff, writing to the Health and Safety Authority and HIQA, seeking their intervention.
Meanwhile, this morning in Letterkenny, there were ten people in the emergency department on trolleys awaiting beds and a further 15 in wards awaiting movement to proper beds.
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