The number of patients on trolleys in emergency departments and on wards waiting for admission to a hospital bed passed the 600 barrier for the first time on Tuesday.
In South Tipperary General on Tuesday there were twelve people lying on trolleys in a corridor off the A&E Department. The HSE said the figure had reduced to four by lunchtime.
The number of people having to be accommodated on trolleys in the South Tipperary General has often been higher (26 in October 2013) but twelve was still an unacceptable number, according to Mary Power of the Irish Nurses and Midwivews Organisation.
“It’s the normalisation of the abnormal. Twelve is too many and nurses in Clonmel are under severe pressure. It is a very difficult situation. Every patient has to right to expect best treatment but it is difficult to achieve that when the capacity of the hospital is being exceeded.” said Mary Power.
She said that having patients on trolleys was unacceptable but in Clonmel the problem was exacerbated because the patients on trolleys were on a public corridor where members of the public pass by.
“No nurse wishes to be part of a system where this happens,” said the INMO spokesperson who is based in Cork with responsiblity for South Tipperary General.
She said efforts had been made in Clonmel to bring in an extra nurse to deal with what is effectively having to cope with an extra ward of patients at times of overcrowding.
“With agencies it depends on availability and at times nurses from within the existing staff are used,” she said.