Hospital overcrowding: 635 patients on trolleys amid 'unacceptable' conditions

Tomas Doherty

The number of patients waiting for a bed in Cork University Hospital has reached a record high as overcrowding continues to put strain on health services across the country.

A record 90 patients were waiting on trolleys in Cork on Wednesday morning, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), while nationally there were 635 patients without a bed.

Among the most overcrowded hospitals in the country were University Hospital Limerick, with 99 patients waiting for a bed, Tallaght University Hospital with 42 patients, St Vincent’s University Hospital with 41 patients, and Letterkenny University Hospital with 41 patients waiting on trolleys.

Colm Porter, the INMO's assistant director of industrial relations for the southern region, said the situation in Cork University Hospital was "completely unacceptable".

"Our members in CUH are under constant significant pressure that is showing no signs of abating as the situation continues to get worse in their workplace. As the union representing nurses working across the hospital we continue to raise health and safety concerns with hospital management on a near daily basis.

"There has been no real or meaningful plan to support the CUH Emergency Department and its surrounds when it comes to increasing bed capacity since the last time an overcrowding record was reached there in September 2022. Urgent engagement is required to ensure that discharge facilities are available in the community.

"It is clear that there must be a laser-like focus from both the South/South-West Hospital Group itself and the HSE nationally to tackling the scale of overcrowding in Cork University Hospital."