'Simply out of control' overcrowding at South Tipperary General Hospital and hospitals across Ireland





South Tipperary General Hospital is among the most overcrowded hospitals in Ireland this week. 

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation's (INMO) trolley/ward watch figures for the first three days of this week record 1,718 patients waiting in emergency departments and on overcrowded wards for an in-patient bed.  

There were 532 patients on trolleys on Monday. This rose to 591 on Tuesday and there are 595 on trolleys on Wednesday. For the same three days last year there were a total of 1,173 awaiting a bed, 46% less.

The most overcrowded hospitals over the three days were Cork University Hospital (159), University Hospital Limerick (135), University Hospital Galway (125), South Tipperary General Hospital (106) and St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny (93).

The hospitals with the highest numbers on Wednesday include ­­Cork University Hospital (64), University Hospital Galway (58) and University Hospital Limerick (50)

“These figures confirm that hospitals cannot cope, the system is unable to manage patient flow and the burden is falling on nursing and medical staff who are forced to work in intolerable conditions,” said INMO General Secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha.

“Staff are constantly apologising to patients for the inhumane conditions in which they are forced to care for them and they cannot see any reprieve as we leave the winter period. We are now in the second week of April and the figures are getting higher.

“It is time for the Government as a whole to recognise that the health service is in crisis and requires immediate emergency intervention. These numbers are the equivalent of three whole hospitals of patients for whom there are no beds. This is a national emergency inflicting indignity and unnecessary suffering on patients and subjecting nursing and medical and other staff to extraordinary health and safety risks.

“The INMO is again calling for the protocol applying to any emergency to be applied immediately. This should include utilisation of the private sector, cancellations of all elective day and inpatient procedures and concentration on de-escalation procedures. There must be an immediate focus on realistic recruitment and retention measures for nursing staff to prevent this situation continuing  to deteriorate,” Phil Ni Sheaghdha added.

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