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Dublin hospital has highest number of patients on trolleys

The INMO has said the latest trolley figures are “a damning indictment of our society”.

Image: Shutterstock/Paul Vinten

Updated 7pm

THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE on trolleys in hospital emergency departments reached a record high last month, figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) show.

Some 7,713 patients waited on trolleys for an in-patient bed in May, an increase of 31% on the same period last year, according to the INMO.

The hospitals with the highest numbers on trolleys were:

  • Beaumont Hospital, Dublin – 782
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda – 718
  • University Hospital, Limerick – 538
  • University Hospital, Galway – 524
  • Mater Hospital, Dublin – 497
  • Cork University Hospital – 454
  • Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar – 435
  • St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin – 427

The hospital has this evening said that there has been no reduction in patient beds. Rather, a situation has arisen where many of its beds intended for surgical patients end up being used by medical patients – many of whom are frail and elderly.

In a statement, the INMO called for urgent action in the form of additional resources and nurse recruitment to address hospital overcrowding.

Every day is the same inside emergency departments where elderly people on trolleys are lined up, head to toe, along small narrow corridors with insufficient nurses to care for them. INMO members are, at this stage, embarrassed to have to face patients and their families who have to suffer this indignity in our health care system.

Its general secretary, Liam Doran, said: “The stated target of having a reduction in the level of daily overcrowding in [emergency departments] by 1 October is merely a pipe dream without investment in acute beds, step down beds, enhanced community services and recruitment initiatives for nursing and other staff.”

The union pointed out that last month’s figures are up 83% on May 2006, the year then Minister for Health Mary Harney declared the crisis a national emergency.

Criticism of hospital overcrowding has intensified in recent weeks following news that a 102-year-old woman spent 26 hours on a trolley in Tallaght Hospital’s emergency department earlier this month.

It emerged days later that another woman, who was 101, endured a 25-hour wait on a trolley at University Hospital Limerick.

ED Taskforce

The Department of Health said that its ED Taskforce was convened in December 2014 to address ED overcrowding.

It has achieved a number of things, including:

  • Additional funds of €74 million have been provided in 2015 to increase the number of long term nursing home care places and reduce the waiting time for the funding of such places
  • 764 people have transferred to the nursing home support scheme, reducing the waiting list from 11 to 4 weeks 
  • fourOn average 530 people await funding for fourweeks when compared to up to 1,400 for 11 weeks previously
  • Over 1,500 transitional care places were provided in the first four months of the year and this continues to benefit patients requiring transfer from the acute hospital system on an ongoing basis
  • The provision of 173 additional community hospital beds across the country is currently being progressed with almost 140 in place currently and additional numbers coming on stream on a weekly basis
  • There has been a concentration by HSE on improving the situation in the worst performing hospitals which account for a disproportionate number of trolley waits

An implementation plan has been prepared and the oversight group to drive the  the implementation of the Action Plan is to meet on Monday 15 June, said the HSE.

Read: Hospital admits it was ‘unacceptable’ that woman (102) spent 26 hours on trolley >

Read: Leo understands the distress that hospital overcrowding causes you >

About the author:

Catherine Healy

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