Monday 18 November 2019

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Hospital overcrowding hits 2019 peak

Thursday, 7th November, 2019 8:58am

A UCC professor has underlined the need for at least another 180 nurses across Ireland as overcrowding continues to spiral out of control.

In a report commissioned by the HSE and Department of Health, Professor Jonathan Drennan said that Ireland is currently in dire need of extra emergency department nursing posts to help deal with growing patient numbers.

On Tuesday Ireland recorded its worst day for hospital overcrowding so far in 2019 with 679 patients waiting on trollies around the country.

This figure represents the second highest ever recorded in Ireland, the highest being 714 patients on 12 March 2018. Before Tuesday, the highest daily figure for 2019 was 631.

CUH was the second most overcrowded hospital in Ireland on Tuesday with 60 patients awaiting treatment on trollies, second only to University Hospital Limerick (UHL) with 63.

Yesterday the INMO recorded 65 patients in trollies in CUH, making it the most overcrowded hospital in the country, surpassing UHL whose number had dropped to 57.

Sinn Féin Councillor and by-election candidate Thomas Gould said that Government health policy has “failed the people of Cork” and challenged both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil over their support for such policies.

“We have Fine Gael TDs and Fianna Fáil TDs representing this city. They are in power. They are all supporting the budgets and the policies that are leaving sick people without hospital beds and it's getting worse. How in God's name can they stand over this? These patients are our family members, our friends and our neighbours.”

Responding to Cllr Gould’s comments, Fine Gael Senator and by-election candidate Colm Burke, pointed out that the number of consultants in the HSE has increased from 2,100 in 2009, to over 3,100 in 2019, although he says it’s still “far short of what we should have”.

“It's a major challenge and one I've been fighting very hard over the last few years. We've got an extra 15,000 full time staff in the HSE in the last four years,” said Senator Burke.

“Tommy Gould can make that criticism, but one of the things I fought very hard for is a new primary care centre on the northside of the city, and we got it built. We have built 57 primary care centres over the last five years, with another 70 in planning and design stage,” he added.

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