Twenty patients on trolleys and wards at Kilkenny's St Luke's Hospital today

IMO is forecasting worst year yet for overcrowding

Sam Matthews


Sam Matthews


St Luke's Hospital.

St Luke's Hospital, where there are 20 people on trolleys and wards today

There are 20 patients on trolleys and wards at St Luke's General Hospital in Kilkenny today, according to figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).

That's a rise of 12 from the figures for yesterday, when the number was just eight.

While nationally, 2018 saw the worst October on record for hospital overcrowding, St Luke's actually saw reductions compared to the previous year. The total figure recorded was 249, down from 495 in 2017 - but still the third-highest since records began.

The union has said that much of the overcrowding is down to understaffing, caused primarily by unattractively low pay levels in Irish nursing and midwifery. Both the INMO and Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) are warning that the trolley figures will rise coming into the busy winter season.

“Over 9,000 patients forced to wait on trolleys and it’s not even peak winter season," said INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha.

"Figures like these do not adequately express the hardship endured by patients who find themselves in these circumstances. The negative health impacts of this overcrowding are known, yet this is not addressed as a national priority."