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Hospital staff face winter of discontent

Nurses are warning of a catastrophic winter ahead with figures showing over 1,000 patients could not get a bed at the Galway emergency department last month – one of the worst periods of overcrowding since records began.

University Hospital Galway was the third worst in the country for overcrowding with 1,032 patients confined on trolleys placed on corridors and in every available nook and cranny of the facility in Newcastle as they waited for a bed to become available.

Overall, 10,515 patients were counted on trolleys by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) nationally throughout September – the second worst September for overcrowding in Irish hospitals. A marginally worse situation was recorded in 2019 when 10,641 patients were without a bed. Galway was just behind Limerick (1382 patients) and Cork (1260 patients).

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said the figures reiterate how unsafe it is for nurses and the patients they care for.

“It is clear from this month’s overcrowding figures that we are on a path to a catastrophic winter in our hospitals. The ongoing problems with overcrowding are leaving nurses completely and utterly demoralised,” she exclaimed.

Meanwhile, the public was asked to stay away for all but the most serious cases during the weekend relocation of staff and equipment to the new temporary emergency department.

A building at the front of the hospital will be used while the permanent replacement building is being built where the old ED operated.

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