18 Aug 2022

Hospitals hit with record overcrowding in first six months of 2017

Visitor ban at Regional Hospital Mullingar due to vomiting bug outbreak

The trolley/ward watch figures, compiled on a daily basis by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), show that, in the first six months of 2017, 51,321 patients, admitted for care, were on trolleys in Emergency Department/Ward areas. This represents a 6% increase on the first six months of 2016.

The figures also confirm that in the month of June there were 7,124 patients on trolleys which is a 21% increase on June 2016. (See attached tables for full details)

 The most overcrowded hospitals, in June, were:

 University Hospital Limerick – 640
 University Hospital Galway – 566
 Mater Hospital Dublin – 532
 Cork University Hospital – 469
 University Hospital Waterford - 406

"These latest figures come after a slight improvement in April but confirm an ever growing demand for impatient services upon our health service which continues to suffer from inadequate capacity - beds and staff," an INMO statement said.

The INMO understands that a number of hospitals, in recent weeks, have tried to maintain elective (planned) admissions in an effort to reduce waiting lists for planned care. "While the INMO welcomes any reduction in waiting periods, for impatient care, these latest figures confirm these hospitals do not have the capacity to provide the required services for both planned and emergency admissions," they stated.

The latest figures also confirm that in the first six months, overall, there was a reduction in the numbers of patients on trolleys, in Dublin, while a significant increase has taken place in hospitals outside of Dublin. However, in the month of June, both Dublin and country hospitals saw an increase in patients on trolleys when compared to June 2016.

"This confirms that demand for emergency admissions, even in the peak summer period, continues to grow with hospitals unable to provide the necessary capacity in terms of bed or staff," a statement from the INMO read.

The INMO has also found that, in recent weeks, a number of Emergency Departments have endured severe nursing staff shortages due to a combination of vacant posts, staff leave and inability to provide emergency staffing through agencies. This has compounded the negative impact upon patient care and created intolerable working conditions for staff in both Emergency Departments/Wards, they said. 

This record level of overcrowding, and the need for emergency/immediate measures to elevate the situation, will be raised, by the INMO, at the meeting of the Emergency Department Taskforce taking place this afternoon.

Speaking this morning, INMO General Secretary, Liam Doran said:

“These figures represent further evidence that our health service, through inadequate bed and staffing levels, simply cannot cope with the demands being placed upon it."

"The legitimate attempts to reduce waiting lists has only exacerbated the levels of overcrowding, with the indignity and loss of privacy that result, now taking place, in this peak summer period, in Emergency Departments and Wards across the country. These figures confirm that hospitals cannot deal with both planned and emergency admissions at the same time confirming that our health service remains far too small," he continued.

"At the Emergency Department Taskforce meeting, later today, the INMO will seek confirmation that, even ahead of planning for the winter surge, immediate steps will be  taken, which have to involve additional staff and bed capacity, to address the current record levels of overcrowding."

"The government and the HSE, in responding to these latest figures, must bring forward emergency measures, including resources, to immediately address this totally unacceptable situation," Doran concluded. 

If you have a story for us, sports news, an event happening in your area, or if you want to submit pictures or videos, contact the Offaly Express team via e-mail to, or through our Facebook.

To continue reading this article for FREE,
please kindly register and/or log in.

Registration is absolutely 100% FREE and will help us personalise your experience on our sites. You can also sign up to our carefully curated newsletter(s) to keep up to date with your latest local news!

Register / Login

Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.

Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.