Overcrowding a 'major incident' at South Tipperary General Hospital and across Ireland



South Tipperary General Hospital  in Clonmel

'Extreme overcrowding' in hospitals across Ireland

For the second day in a row, South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel is experiencing significant overcrowding. 

760 patients are waiting without beds in Ireland’s hospitals, matching Monday’s record highest daily figure.

This is more than the total bed capacity of any hospital in the State.

Read more: Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath calls Simon Harris resignation 

Along with South Tipperary General Hospital (44), the worst-hit hospitals include University Hospital Limerick (75), University Hospital Galway (51), Cork University Hospital (47) and Letterkenny University Hospital (47). 

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has written to the Minister for Health Simon Harris calling for the following: 

  • A declaration of a major incident at the worst-affected hospitals.
  • Immediate approval for all posts awaiting sign-off in nursing and midwifery across all acute hospitals.
  • Cancellation of elective procedures in the worst-affected hospitals.
  • An infection control plan.
  • Closure to non-emergency admissions in worst-affected hospitals.
  • Sourcing of additional beds in the private and voluntary sectors.
  • An end to the recruitment ban.

The union is also seeking previously agreed funding for the Safe Staffing Framework to bring staffing levels to safe levels to help ease overcrowding and improve patient outcomes. Otherwise, the INMO warns the risks to patient safety will continue throughout 2020.

“This extreme overcrowding presents a clear danger to patients and staff alike. It requires immediate political intervention to stabilise our hospitals," INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said.

“760 patients on trolleys means the health service is simply not functioning. The longer this level of overcrowding continues, the greater the threats to patient safety.

“We have written to the minister calling for action. We need to grasp the nettle and declare a major incident, cancel electives, and immediately approve recruitment for the worst-hit hospitals," she added.