Scale Of Local Hospital Overcrowding Largely Unchanged

Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise

Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise

Commenting on these overcrowding numbers, the newly appointed General Secretary of the INMO, Phil Ni Sheaghdha, demanded an explanation from the HSE in relation to how the predictable increases in Emergency Department (ED) admissions remain outside of the scope of hospitals to manage and control: "Overcrowding in late December and early January is getting worse".

Mr Harris said: "No effort or resource is being spared to improve this situation".

A public briefing is also expected later in light of trolley numbers hitting record levels - yesterday 677 patients were waiting for a bed at hospitals around the country, 53 of those at University Hospital Limerick.

While the number of people waiting for a hospital bed on trolleys in emergency departments or on wards fell to 483 on Friday, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said the overall number recorded in the opening days of January was up 10 per cent on the same period a year ago.

He expressed his regret and frustration at the situation and that there has not been an improvement despite increased investment.

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The worst affected hospital today was St Luke's in Kilkenny with 57 patients waiting, followed by University Hospital Limerick 55, South Tipperary 45, Cork University Hospital 38 and Letterkenny 35.

She said that Mr Varadkar's "version of stability involves a 92 per cent bed occupancy on average, 500-plus patients waiting for admission on trolleys, nearly 700,000 patients waiting for an outpatient appointment, an ever-increasing number of cancelled operations and procedures, and a general practice system which is struggling to meet demand and is near to collapse".

The Irish Medical Organisation says says our hospitals are "a system in meltdown" due to overcrowding.

The call for a more stringent structure around patient admission and discharge come as the Limerick hospital was revealed as having the highest number of patients - 8,869 - forced to wait on trolleys for a bed past year.

At Tullamore's Midland Regional Hospital the number was 37, while Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, and the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar both had 31 patients waiting for a bed.

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Ms Ni Sheaghdha is one of the joint chairs and said that she was not notified.

MUH Clinical Director Dr Kieran O'Connor said: "In this context, visiting is being restricted to the hospital in the interest of patient safety".

The HSE has said this afternoon that flu cases are increasing and advised people showing symptoms not to go to work or school.

The HSE said the H3N2 strain also circulated previous year and particularly affected the elderly, while young children are more susceptible to influenza B.

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