As well as 84 patients waiting on trolleys, there were delays of up to 10 hours in ambulance offloads, which was having a knock-on impact on the availability of ambulances across the region. File photo: Larry Cummins
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has warned of a "dangerous situation" at Cork University Hospital (CUH) after recording the highest number of patients on trolleys there in over 16 years.
As of Tuesday morning, 84 people were waiting on trolleys at CUH for admission. It is the highest number recorded at CUH since the union began its Trolleywatch tracker in 2006. INMO Industrial Relations Officer, Liam Conway, said the figures come as no surprise to those working in the hospital.
“The discharge rates simply are not keeping up with the admission rates and that is one of the reasons why we are seeing such high numbers on trolleys in CUH,” he said.
“This is a very dangerous situation in CUH, and staff can’t wait any longer for the South/Southwest Hospital Group to intervene. It is not acceptable to us that the hospital group continues to blame the problems in CUH on the national picture.
"The INMO has been calling for the HSE and the hospital group to create a bespoke plan for CUH. Year in and year out, we see the same problems in CUH at wintertime.
Staff feel abandoned because they feel that neither the hospital group nor the HSE are listening to their concerns.
“We need to see all non-emergency activity in the hospital curtailed and all private capacity in the region utilised where possible.
“Unless the South/Southwest Hospital Group (SSWHG) takes urgent action, we are going to see many more record-breaking days like this in CUH.”
Sources at the hospital described conditions as “the worst they’ve ever experienced”.
As well as 84 patients waiting on trolleys, there were delays of up to 10-hours in ambulance offloads, which was having a knock-on impact on the availability of ambulances across the region.
In a statement this morning, the SSWHS described CUH's emergency department (ED) as “exceptionally busy” today, and over the last number of days.
“Due to this increased level of activity and subsequent admissions, it is regrettable that some patients may experience a delay in the ED,” it said in a statement.
What's your view on this issue?
You can tell us here
It blamed the increase in attendance on the large number of very ill medical patients requiring admission.
“Patient care is paramount in CUH and this situation is being treated as a priority by Hospital Management who have taken steps to address this issue,” it said.
CUH management urged people, where appropriate, to contact their GP or South Doc in the first instance and to explore all other medical options available to them before attending the ED if their needs are not urgent.
They pointed people with non-urgent medical needs towards the Mercy Urgent Care Centre, at St Mary’s Health Campus in Gurranabraher, or to the local injuries units at Bantry or Mallow General Hospital.
CUH management also said they wanted to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of all staff during this very busy time.
Read More'We've had the fire safety officer in': Overcrowding in hospitals is extremely dangerous, says INMO
Sign up to to get the latest news direct to your inbox daily at 1pm
Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence
Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox
© Irish Examiner Ltd, Linn Dubh, Assumption Road, Blackpool, Cork. Registered in Ireland: 523712.