INMO general secretary Liam Doran said the figures confirm a record level of overcrowding in the first four months of 2016 compared to previous years, and was a problem that required resources, even if it meant not reducing taxes.
The 8,145 patients on trolleys in April brings the running count to 35,756 since the start of the year, the highest since the INMO’s records began and a 2% increase on the same period in 2015.
Mr Doran said the overcrowding comes despite the work of nurses across the country.
“But there’s not enough of them. The bed numbers aren’t enough, and until that is addressed and acknowledged — which means you can’t cut taxes maybe, because you have to fund the public health service — we will be always counting trolleys, instead of one day arriving at the point where we no longer need to count trolleys because they are rare or never seen. But we are a long long away from that at the moment,” he said.
“There has to be honesty. We cannot solve 10 years of neglect in one year. That’s why we are seeking a political health summit that will set the journey for 10 to 25 years. That starts with certain parameters — a guaranteed amount of funding every year. A minimum level of bed capacity being produced.