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Under Pressure

'Wasteful, inefficient, horrendous': 30,000 people waited longer than 24 hours on hospital trolleys this year

The figures were released to Fianna Fáil’s Stephen Donnelly who called them “appalling and unacceptable”.

FIGURES RELEASED BY the HSE have shown that there were more than 30,000 people who experienced waits of over 24 hours in emergency departments in the first 10 months of this year.

Over a third (10,855) of people who had to wait a day on a trolley were over the age of 75.

The figures were released to Fianna Fáil’s health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly in response to a parliamentary question.

January 2018 was the worst month in these figures, with 4,494 people waiting on a trolley for 24 hours.

Separately, data also shows that 172,377 bed days were lost between January and October due to delayed discharges. 

Donnelly said that even though these statistics aren’t surprising, it’s still “appalling and unacceptable”. 

He said: “This year has seen an ongoing crisis in our Emergency Departments with a record number of patients on trolleys, the 100,000 threshold was broken even before November was over.

To put it in perspective the number of people enduring 24 hour waits would fill the Mater Hospital fifty times over. To make a bad situation worse, more than one in three were aged over 75.  This is a disgraceful situation and must be viewed as borderline elder abuse.

He said that increasing bed capacity is a matter that must be urgently addressed, as well as more step-down facilities and home care to reduce the number of delayed discharges.

“This is wasteful and inefficient and a horrendous situation for patients to be in,” Donnelly added.

The HSE this week announced its national service plan for 2019, with a budget of €16 billion allocated from the government. 

It said its key priorities for next year are to maintain activity at 2018 levels, focus on cost reductions, minimise risk and promote patient safety.

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