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Thousands of elderly patients face more than 24-hours in Emergency Departments

The HSE has a target of releasing all patients over the age of 75 within 24-hours.

Image: Shutterstock/Hadrian

MORE THAN FOUR thousand elderly patients were forced to wait a full day in Emergency Departments in hospitals around Ireland in the first three months of 2019.

The HSE set a target of discharging all patients over the age of 75 within 24-hours but newly released figures show that a total of 4,349 faced more than a full day waiting for treatment.

University Hospital Limerick racked up the most lengthy stays with 560 patients enduring a day in hospital.

Galway University Hospitals (449), University Hospital Waterford (419), Cork University Hospital (405) and the Mater Hospital in Dublin (418) also accumulated significant numbers of lengthy visits.

The statistics were obtained by Fianna Fáil and the party’s health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly said that lengthy hospital visits compound ill-health.

“The bar was set very low when the target was introduced by the HSE, and yet it has been missed literally thousands of times,” Donnelly said.

These figures are disgraceful and despite the fact that they have decreased on previous years, it’s still not acceptable to have some of our most vulnerable people treated in this manner.

Donnelly said that bed capacity is a “fundamental problem in health care in Ireland” and added that if Health Minister Simon Harris can’t get to grips with “basic problems” after three years in the role then “we are going to see thousands more over 75′s languish in A&E’s across the country.”

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Ceimin Burke

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