The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has said hospital overcrowding in Cork city is out of control. Photo: Mulyadi

INMO: 'This is completely unsustainable'

Hospital overcrowding on Leeside has been described as being “out of control”.

That’s the view of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) as 76 patients were without a bed in Cork city on Tuesday with 53 patients on trolleys in Cork University Hospital and 23 patients on trolleys in the Mercy University Hospital. The figure rose to 85 on Wednesday.

INMO Industrial Relations Officer, Liam Conway said: “The amount of patients for whom there (were) no beds in both acute hospitals in Cork city (on Tuesday was) out of control. We have seen huge levels of overcrowding in Cork so far this month with 974 patients on trolleys since 1 March in both hospitals. This is completely unsustainable.”

He added: “Our members are exhausted and completely burnt out and are looking for a solution from the South/South West Hospital Group and Government. It’s not sustainable and the fact is we will see dedicated staff who have worked through the pandemic, walking out of their jobs if this situation isn’t taken seriously. It’s absolutely crucial that the HSE works with us now to prevent that happening.”

Mr Conway continued: “We need both the Government and South/South West Hospital Group to tackle the issue of capacity and discharge facilities for complex discharges and delayed discharges across Cork city and county. The issue remains is that the admission rates remain significantly higher than the discharge rates.”

He said Cork South Central, in which both hospitals are located, is well represented at the cabinet table.

“The concerns of our members must be dealt with. Government must take action in the short and medium term. On the back of Monday’s Emergency Department Taskforce meeting, INMO members in Cork want to see public health measures reinforced in order to support frontline services which are under extreme pressure,” he said.

“Action must be urgently taken to mitigate the levels of pressure that our nursing and midwifery workforce are under in Cork.”