Record Numbers Awaiting Beds Avoidable Says INMO


The General Secretary of the INMO Phil Ni Sheaghda has said the situation with 714 people waiting for beds in the country’s hospitals could have been avoided.

She said: “I wrote to (the HSE) last Monday (March 5) saying the health services would not return to normal for two weeks after the storm (and asking) can you please put plans in place to make sure you’re only dealing with absolute emergencies?

“They took the view they would leave it to each hospital and the situation developed over the week, (with numbers on trolleys) rising every single day.

Again, we corresponded with them saying ‘you have to intervene. this is not good enough.’ “Today, we have 714 (people waiting for a bed).”

According to the INMO, the worst affected is University Hospital Limerick where 80 patients are on trolleys.

Labour spokesperson on Health, Alan Kelly TD, has called on Simon Harris the Minister for Health to outline what action is being taken to address the overcrowding crisis in Irish hospitals.

Deputy Kelly said ..’I am extremely concerned, and quite frankly alarmed, by comments made by the general secretary of the INMO on the News at One this afternoon, who described conditions in our public hospitals right now as ‘chaotic’ and ‘unsafe’ as a result of overcrowding levels.’

‘The cross-party Sláintecare report published last May clearly stated that addressing ED overcrowding required a system wide response, including the need to enhance primary and social care services to provide patient centred care, which would reduce the over-reliance on our public hospitals. We need increased investment in our hospitals to attract more doctors and nurses, as well as giving GPS direct access to diagnostics.”

Nursing Homes Ireland has written to the Minister for Health Simon Harris and the HSE to inform of bed availability within nursing homes to alleviate overcrowding within our acute hospitals.

A snapshot survey undertaken last week by NHI of private and voluntary nursing homes informed of 537 beds being available within 114 nursing homes to provide short- or long-stay care. 69% of the survey respondents had bed availability, with 166 responding.

This snapshot survey represents circa 25% of private and voluntary nursing homes. Therefore, the actual numbers of beds available is likely to be far higher.

Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO, said ”We are committed to engaging proactively with the Minister, the HSE and the Emergency Department Taskforce to ensure our acute hospitals are supported in ensuring persons requiring short- or long-stay residential care are discharged back into the community in a timely manner.

The HSE’s own figures inform on a consistent basis around two-thirds of the persons awaiting discharge from our hospitals are awaiting long-term residential care.

Ensuring beds are identified within nursing homes and the transition is facilitated in a timely manner will alleviate pressures upon our hospitals.

Nursing home beds are available across the country and it is essential our health services work together for the betterment of patients within our hospitals and to support healthcare delivery.”