Zero trolley use at Portlaoise hospital a temporary respite

First day of the year when no trollies were needed arrives in mid-summer

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly



No trollies used at Portlaoise hospital on Wednesday, June 21

The easing of trolley problems at Portlaoise hospital this week appears to have been just a temporary relief for staff and patients.

Nobody was recorded on trollies in A&E or wards at the Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise on Wednesday, June 21. On Monday, June 19 just one trolley was needed in A&E, according to the figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

However, the drop off was just a temporary relief since, by Thursday of the same week, there were 16 people waiting on trollies to be admitted to the hospital.

While Portlaoise enjoyed some respite, its sister hospitals remain busy. These include: Tallaght, St James, Naas and Tullamore. Laois patients are transferred to these hospitals if they cannot be treated in Portlaoise. 

Figures by the Irish Nurses Midwives Organisation (INMO) for May, confirm record levels of overcrowding, when compared to previous years. In total 8,154 admitted patients waited on trolleys in various hospitals during the period.

The INMO was disappointed by the figures, since April showed a marginal improvement. Nurses say figures also confirm that both the greater Dublin, and country areas, showed increased levels of overcrowding when compared to May 2016.

In total there were 287 trollies used in May in Portlaoise which was twenty less that the same month last year. In Tullamore some 420 patients needed trollies last month which was almost 30 less than last year.

However, the other hospitals in the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group were much busier in May 2017 than May 2016. In Tallaght 476 people had to wait on trollies - up 139 on last year. In Naas General 288 patients needed a trolley up 70 on last year. St James', the country's biggest hospital, saw trolley use almost double in May 2017 to 176.

Nearly 1,650 patients had to use trollies in Portlaoise and Dublin Midland hospitals last month.

Liam Doran, INMO General Sec, commenting on the figures said;

“This record level of overcrowding, showing a 23% increase when compared to 2016, is very disappointing coming at this time of year and after a marginal improvement in April.

The figures confirm yet again, that our health service remains far too small, to cater for demand, with this difficulty exacerbated by bed closures due to nursing staff shortages.

He said the figures reaffirm the extent of the crisis, arising from the recruitment/retention difficulties, in nursing, which must be addressed, through pay related initiatives, as an absolute priority. He said that until the shortage of nurses, is addressed, both beds and services will remain curtailed and trolley numbers will continue to grow.