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New overcrowding record as 150 on trolleys in UHL

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation said that 150 people are waiting on a bed in University Hospital Limerick today, making it the worst day of overcrowding in any Irish hospital since trolley records began in 2006.

The organisation said that the overcrowding record has been broken three times in the space of two weeks at UHL.

The previous record of 132 was hit yesterday, and 132 were also recorded on 22 January.

According to HSE data, there were 103 people without at bed at the hospital as of 8am this morning.

Of those, 32 had been waiting for over 24 hours.

Twelve of those waiting were over the age of 75. Forty-seven of the 103 were waiting in the Emergency Department the other 56 were the ward.

Nationally, the figure showed that 550 people were waiting for a trolley across hospital groups.

INMO Assistant Director for Industrial Relations for the Midwest and Western Regions Mary Fogarty said that 2,573 patients have been admitted to UHL without a bed since the start of the year.

She said patients had been put on trolleys in “all available spaces”, including on public corridors, ward corridors, and on the Emergency Department ward.

She said this is leading to a “completely congested hospital with no patient movement to access an in-patient bed”.

“The levels of persistent overcrowding are having a very damaging impact on the morale of the nursing staff in the hospital who are trying their best to provide safe patient care in an extremely trying environment.” she said.

“INMO members have repeatedly highlighted the conditions as unacceptable and dangerous for patients.

“When overcrowding is out of control it is simply impossible to maintain patient safety and dignity.

“The HSE and UHL Hospital Group must take targeted measures immediately to protect working nurses in these departments and wards.

“Reassuring words are not enough, describing how bad it is on the Dooradoyle campus is not enough, we need to see lasting measures to alleviate the constant levels of overcrowding.”

Ms Fogarty called on to HSE management and policy makers to “accept that overcrowding at this level is unfortunately extremely dangerous and detrimental for some patients”.

“Elective and emergency cannot be provided in chaotic overcrowded circumstances. Decisions must be made that keep patients safe and protect staff from ever increasing exposure to outpouring of public frustration and anger.”

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