A ‘toxic Covid-19 combination’: 41 on trolleys at Limerick hospital

Aine Fitzgerald

Reporter:

Aine Fitzgerald

Email:

aine.fitzgerald@limerickleader.ie

Large number on trolleys in Portlaoise Hospital

There were 41 patients on trolleys at UHL this Wednesday morning

A TOTAL of 221 patients were waiting on trolleys in hospitals across the country this Wednesday morning - the highest figure since Covid-19 restrictions were introduced in March.

And University Hospital Limerick has the second highest number of patients waiting on trolleys with 41 people waiting for beds - 26 in the emergency department and 15 on wards elsewhere in the hospital.

Cork University Hospital was the worst-hit hospital with 50 people on trolleys this Wednesday morning.

The figures released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) signal the start of autumn and winter overcrowding.

The union has warned that overcrowding and Covid-19 make for a “toxic combination”, increasing the risk of infection, and endangering staff and patients alike.

According to the INMO in a letter sent to them in May the HSE pledged “overcrowded health and social care facilities will no longer be tolerated”. The union is calling for direct government intervention to fulfill that pledge, including additional home care packages, higher staffed bed capacity and an expansion of step-down facility capacity.

INMO Industrial Relations Officer for Cork University Hospital, Liam Conway, said: “Covid and overcrowding make for a toxic combination. This is a deadly virus and our frontline members are rightly worried for their safety and that of their patients. Infection control is necessarily compromised in a hospital with patients in corridors and on trolleys.

 “The HSE assured us that there would be no tolerance of overcrowding during Covid. Yet no actions have been taken and we are sleepwalking back to mass overcrowding.

“It is time for direct government intervention, especially ahead of the annual winter surge. We need to fund extra beds, expand step-down care, and fund additional home care packages. And this all needs a funded workforce plan to recruit additional nurses and midwives immediately.”