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HSE Trolley numbers now versus pre-Covid

  • 31-12-2021 9:57am
    Registered Users Posts: 7,693 ✭✭✭ Chivito550

    I came across this website which appears to show the number of patients on trolleys in Irish hospitals on any given day:

    I looked at today's figure (31/12/2021) and compared against the same day in all previous years back as far as 2012 (that's as far as the system will allow).

    2021 - 205

    2020 - 105

    2019 - 406

    2018 - 223

    2017 - 232

    2016 - 227

    2015 - 203

    2014 - 225

    2013 - 224

    2012 - 258

    Can somebody help with interpreting these figures? Am I right in saying that our situation regarding people on trolleys was actually worse pre-Covid?

    If so, why is this not being highlighted?


  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 59,388 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Wibbs

    Christmas 2019 was quite the blip, not far off double the average and it was reported in the media at the time. A fair few people around here have mused/are convinced that covid was already here and the "bug going around" in Dec 2019/Jan 2020 was it. The symptoms were similar(though all respiratory illnesses tend to have similar symptoms), the hacking long lasting cough being one and a lot of the patients in hospital were in for pneumonia. I'd be interested to see the figures for mortality and pneumonia in the same period. I've mused on it myself, but came to the conclusion it was almost certainly not covid, but that 2019 blip coming when it did is food for thought.

    Rejoice in the awareness of feeling stupid, for that’s how you end up learning new things. If you’re not aware you’re stupid, you probably are.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,966 ✭✭✭ Cluedo Monopoly

    November 30th 2019 (2 months before Covid arrived)

    2019 breaks record for most patients on trolleys – and it’s not even December (

    2019 has seen the highest number of patients on trolleys in any year since records began – despite it still being November.

    As of today, 108,364 people have gone without beds in 2019 so far – breaking 2018’s record high of 108,227, with a full month left to go in the year.

    The figures count patients who are admitted to hospitals but do not have a bed. They are typically on trolleys in corridors or on chairs. The INMO counts the numbers in 32 hospitals each morning at 8am.

    The union has invoked health and safety laws for staff, writing to the Health and Safety Authority and HIQA, seeking their intervention.

    INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha, said:

    “Winter has only just begun and the record is already broken. These statistics are the hallmark of a wildly bureaucratic health service, which is failing staff and patients alike.

    “We take no pleasure in having to record these figures for a decade and a half. We know the problem, but we also know the solutions: extra beds in hospitals, safe staffing levels, and more step-down and community care outside of the hospital.

    “No other developed country faces anything close to this trolley problem. It can be solved, but a strong political agenda to drive change is needed.

    “The INMO has written to the health and safety authorities this week to try force a change from the employers. Hospitals should be a place of safety and care – not danger.”