Overcrowding is so bad at one hospital that patients have been moved into a family room with just sheets between trolleys for privacy.
It has also emerged that the physiotherapy gym at Connolly Hospital in Dublin, which is normally used by recovering patients, is being converted into a ward.
The Irish Mirror has received a video which shows how trollies have been crammed into a room normally used as a family meeting area. Staff have hung up bed sheets to offer some privacy.
But there are no alarm bells in the makeshift ward and patients, some of whom are elderly, have to walk down a long corridor to the nearest toilet.
A nurse at the facility in Blanchardstown in the west of the city described the situation as “chaotic” and a danger to patients.
She said: “Moving patients into these totally inappropriate areas is not fair on patients or staff. This room has been
set up as a ward but there’s no bell if someone becomes ill and there’s no extra staff allocated.
“There’s no toilet or shower facilities and there’s also a very long walk down a corridor to the nearest toilet.
“This area was never in a million years for people to stay over[night], never mind use it as a ward.”
She said overcrowding has become so acute in recent weeks that the physiotherapy gym is being converted into a temporary ward.
She added: “They have recently repurposed it in the hope to get around 12 patients in there. It means there are
no physiotherapy facilities for people recovering after surgery or injuries and particularly after strokes.”
A nurse at the facility in Blanchardstown in the west of the city described the situation as “chaotic”
This week, General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) Phil Ni Sheaghdha described the conditions for patients at Connolly Hospital as “inhumane”.
“When the HSE does not plan knowing what happens every winter this is the type of immediate reactionary solutions that hospitals are trying to find because there simply isn’t enough capacity,” she said.
A HSE spokesman said: “We recognise the recent pressures experienced by people and staff.
“There have been improvements, including a 22 percent improvement on trolley numbers in the last six months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.
“Many hospitals are experiencing very high attendances and while improved in December and January it remains under pressure.
“It is to our regret people are waiting in any significant numbers and every step is being taken to alleviate that.
“New regional arrangements are in place to ensure all community and hospital services are integrated. Additional improvements in process are being pursued.
“The HSE is also focused on enabling care closer to home through programmes such as the enhanced community care.”
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