Letterkenny University Hospital has been branded as the fifth-worst hospital for overcrowding in Ireland in 2022.
The hospital has so far had 5,366 patients on trolleys since January.
The INMO has called for action to remedy the unsafe situation.
Across the country 100,195 patients have gone without beds in Irish hospitals in 2022. Over 1,903 children have been on trolleys. The worst-hit hospital is Unversity Hospital Limerick with 15,322 patients on trolleys in 2022 alone.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said: “This is the earliest in any given year that trolley figures have reached this unacceptable level. It is not good enough that nurses and the patients they are trying to provide safe care to are expected to accept this as normal.
“Senior figures in the health service have warned the Irish public that waiting over 24 hours to be admitted to hospital is the new normal. In no other country would this level of indignity be accepted.
“Behind our trolley figures that we publish everyday are vulnerable patients trapped in undignified and unsafe conditions. Our members are working incredibly hard, it is clear that our public health service can no longer provide both emergency care and elective care. To that end we are calling for all non-urgent elective care in public hospitals to be curtailed. Private hospitals must be now brought on the pitch to provide elective care until the end of March 2023 at the very least.
“We know that many nurses and midwives are signalling their intention to leave the profession or go abroad to work in safer conditions. Directors of Nursing and Midwifery in hospitals are telling us how incredibly difficult it is to recruit but also retain staff, particularly in large hospitals. We are now calling on the Government to deal with this unsafe, unacceptable and inhumane situation.”
The INMO has called for a four-pronged approach to tackle overcrowding and the recruitment and retention crisis:
a) The cancellation of non-urgent elective care in public hospitals and use of private hospitals for this work
b) The introduction of retention measures including provision of accommodation for essential workers such as nurses and midwives particularly in rent pressure zones
c) Legislation to underpin the implementation of the safe staffing and skill mix framework
d) Prioritisation of funding for public delivered long term care in the community