OVER 1,600 people were waiting on trolleys for a bed in Limerick’s Mid-Western Regional Hospital in the first six months of this year, the latest figures reveal.
The figures for Limerick represent a 55 per cent increase on 2006 figures for the same period.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has just completed a six month comparative review of the level of emergency department overcrowding in 2011 compared to the past five years.
For the first six months of 2006 the number of people on trolleys in the Dooradoyle hospital was 1,052. This figure dipped for the next two years, but rose again to 1,225 in 2009, rising further to 1,636 last year.
The scale of the level of crowding in emergency units is revealed by the fact that 11 other hospitals across the country had dramatically higher levels of crowding than the Mid-Western Regional Hospital.
Nationally, over 46,000 people were on trolleys in the country’s hospitals up to this June, which marks a 20 per cent increase on the same period in 2010 and a 37 per cent increase since 2006 when the overcrowding of hospitals was declared “a national emergency”.
“These figures are truly shocking, cannot go unheeded by the HSE and Government and must result in a reversal of the current policies, all of which are now shown to be flawed,” said Liam Doran, general secretary of the INMO.
Mr Doran said this “crisis will not be solved, or alleviated, by the further curtailment of small and medium 24/7 Emergency Department units, thus directing sick people into already overcrowded and overworked larger units.”