UHG was the fourth most overcrowded hospital in Ireland in July with 457 patients waiting on trolleys throughout the month.
There were another 80 sick people confined to trolleys in Portiuncula this month.
That’s according to the latest Trolleywatch figures released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.
While both hospitals show improvement compared with last month when there were 501 people on trolleys at UHG and 99 at Portiuncula, there’s been a truly massive year-on-year increase.
In July 2017 there were only 202 patients without a hospital bed at UHG and a further 38 at Portiuncula. In both cases that figure has more than doubled in the space of a year.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said that overcrowding is simply becoming a fact of life at hospitals, “Overcrowding is now a constant feature of our hospital system, even in summer.”
The most overcrowded hospital in Ireland this month was University Hospital Limerick, with 897 patients on trolleys.
The INMO says that Ireland’s Emergency departments are at least 216 nurses short of what is needed to care for all the patients that get admitted, according to figures directly from the HSE.
There are 159 nurses positions that are vacant, while they HSE estimates that another 57 nurses beyond that would be needed to care for all patients going without a hospital bed.
The INMO says that low pay and bad working conditions make it near-impossible to recruit and retain sufficient nurses in emergency departments.
“Low salaries for nurses and midwives mean that vacancies simply aren’t being taken up and health service capacity can’t grow. Without realistic pay correction for nurses and midwives, this problem won’t be fixed,” said Phil Ní Sheaghdha.