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Emergency Department at Galway hospital under "extreme pressure"

Galway University Hospital has asked members of the public to only present to the Emergency Department if there is a genuine emergency.

Image: xeophin via Flickr

Updated 3.31pm

GALWAY UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL has issued an appeal to the public this morning to avoid presenting to the Emergency Department unless it is a genuine emergency.

A spokesperson for the HSE said the directive was issued as the department has come under “extreme pressure” today.

Officials at the hospital have urged members of the public to visit their GPs instead of coming to the hospital.

The HSE spokesman told TheJournal.ie that there were 32 patients waiting for beds at the department this morning and medical and surgical consultants were performing ward rounds to help ease the situation.

The appeal comes just two days after nurses at the hospital issued a statement to outline what they say are “intolerable conditions” at the Emergency Department.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) said its members were at “breaking point” and called upon the Health Minister Dr. James Reilly to intervene in the crisis immediately.

To highlight the problems at the hospital, the nurses said that a 78-year-old patient spent four nights on a trolley during the week before he was admitted.

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Speaking to TheJournal.ie this afternoon, INMO officer Noreen Muldoon said that all the patients awaiting a bed in the Emergency Department are over 75-years-old, a number of whom have already spent two nights on trolleys.

“The Emergency Department is in dire straits today and has been all week,” she said. “It is absolute bedlam in there.”

Muldoon said the problems have occurred because a number of beds have been closed due to staff shortages.

“The patients who are still turning up are very ill and there is no other route for them,” explained Muldoon.

Read: Nurses ramp up protest with second strike over ‘safety risks’>

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