No end in sight for overcrowding at UHG

The head of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has warned that overcrowding at UHG is unlikely to be resolved for at least five years. In figures released by the INMO yesterday ahead of its annual conference, UHG was named among the top five most overcrowded hospitals in the country in April.

The comments by Liam Doran, INMO general secretary, were made yesterday as the hospital once again had to implement its full capacity protocol due to overcrowding at the facility.

Last month saw a total of 410 patients on trolleys in UHG, according to the organisation’s Trolley Watch figures, the fifth highest number in the country behind Cork University Hospital ((658 ), University Hospital Limerick (649 ), South Tipperary General Hospital (493 ), and Mater Hospital Dublin (437 ).

Mr Doran said the health service has suffered 20 years of neglect, and warned that Galway’s overcrowding will not be resolved for some time.

“I’d like to think it will be solved in five years’ time, but it won’t be for the next year or two,” he said of the overcrowding at UHG. “We have gone past the stage of staring at the problem. The political system knows it has to be dealt with.”

According to Trolley Watch and Ward Watch figures, compiled daily by the INMO, some 34 patients were waiting on trolleys at UHG yesterday.

Nationally, a total of 36,043 patients waited on trolleys for an in-patient bed in the first four months of 2017. This was the highest figure recorded for this four-month period since records began, and a one per cent increase on 2016 figures.

“These latest statistics confirm that our health services continue to be too small to adequately, and safely, meet the demands being placed upon it,” Mr Doran warned. “The shortage of beds in acute hospitals and step down facilities remains a real problem in this ongoing crisis. Additional services, either in terms of acute beds, step-down beds, and/or community intervention teams, are dependent on there being additional nursing staff.

“It remains the stark reality that without nurses and midwives we cannot meet current demand, let alone in the future. The INMO will continue, in the interests of our members and the patients they care for, to lead the campaign for additional beds, staff, and services right across the healthcare system.”

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