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612 patients waiting for hospital bed

There were 612 admitted patients waiting for a bed in hospitals around the country, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

It said the hospital worst affected is University Hospital Limerick, where there were 117 patients waiting, with 53 in the emergency department and 64 in wards elsewhere in the hospital.

The INMO said there were 17 patients waiting for a bed at the three children’s hospitals in Dublin.

Figures show there were 32 patients waiting at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin, with 35 waiting at Cork University Hospital and 35 at Letterkenny University Hospital.

The Health Service Executive said its urgent and emergency care report showed that overall, there were 410 admitted patients waiting for a bed this morning, with 66 patients waiting at UHL.

Meanwhile, the HSE said that last year a record number of patients were treated in hospital, with almost 1.7 million people receiving emergency care.

It said this is up 29,000 on the previous year and is an increase of 188,000 on 2019.

Publishing its hospital activity figures for 2023, the HSE said last year saw the highest-ever number of people receiving day case care, as well as attending outpatient appointments and receiving hospital care as inpatients.

There was a steady rise in the number of people receiving care at an injury unit, with 165,000 attendances last year, which the HSE said is up from 147,000 in 2022 and up from 99,000 in 2019.

While the number of people treated has risen, the HSE said it acknowledged that “unacceptably long” waiting lists remain for many procedures, adding that emergency departments continue to face “sustained” pressure.

In a statement, it said the increase in patients seen and treated reflects the level of investment in the waiting list action plans over the last number of years.

HSE Chief Executive Bernard Gloster said that there is still much to do, adding that demand for care will continue to grow in line with an aging population.

“Each year, we see significant additional demand rising, and our focus on older people has to be central to all of our efforts,” he said.

He added: “Two critical areas that will remain high priority are improving access to care for people on waiting lists and improving unscheduled and emergency care.

“This doesn’t just involve our hospitals, but also developing community-based healthcare to support people to stay well and avoid the need to go to hospital or reduce the number of hospital stays.”

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