The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s (INMOs) trolley count said this morning that public hospitals are "severely overcrowded", with an increase from yesterday’s figure of 21 to 677 nationally.
"The Midland Hospitals are all very overcrowded, particularly Mullingar and Tullamore with figures of 38 and 42 respectively," said the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.
"Dublin hospitals, particularly St James’s, and Tallaght Hospitals, have had a big increase overnight with a total of 28 and 23 respectively.
"Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, also has a high figure of 26. St Luke’s Hospital Kilkenny with a total of 54, and University Hospital Limerick at 53, remain the highest hospitals with patients on trolleys."
The INMO has sought an emergency meeting of the ED Taskforce and is awaiting confirmation from the HSE that same will take place today or tomorrow. In the meantime, the INMO is receiving a number of distressed calls from members who describe intolerable working conditions and inhumane conditions for patients.
Speaking today INMO General Secretary, Phil Ni Sheaghdha, said “As predicted the January figures are unacceptably high. We are very concerned at the level of planning to avoid the situation that has been engaged in some locations and we have sought to meet with the HSE as a matter of urgency. We are awaiting their confirmation that this meeting will take place today, with a view to examining alternative arrangements for hospitals that are simply too overcrowded to continue to accept admissions.
"It is clear that a national emergency is now in place and certain locations simply cannot cope.
"These record numbers are unacceptable. It is intolerable for both patients and staff endeavouring to provide the best care possible to them.
“There is ample evidence which confirms that high ED occupancy is associated with increased in-hospital mortality following admission from overcrowded EDs. Evidence also confirms that patients, admitted through overcrowded Emergency Departments have longer hospital stays," Ms Ni Sheaghdha continued.
"An increase in a nurse’s workload, by one patient, increases the likelihood of an inpatient dying within 30 days of admission by 7%. High levels of burnout have been reported amongst nurses working in overcrowded environments”.