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A public demonstration at A&E waiting times in 2005. The US embassy wrote to Washington repeatedly advising visitors to be prepared for long waits if they required medical attention. Graham Hughes/Photocall Ireland

US embassy warned diplomats about crumbling healthcare system

Visiting US diplomats were advised to be patient in the case of a medical emergency, because A&E wards are so overcrowded.

THE AMERICAN EMBASSY in Dublin wrote to Washington warning visiting diplomats about the delays in Ireland’s A&E wards – as they underlined the chronic overcrowding in the country’s hospitals.

Embassy officials in Ireland regularly updated the US State Department on hospital overcrowding, writing last year that patients “can expect waits [of] up to 12 hours before being seen”.

“It’s not uncommon for persons to be treated in an emergency room or surrounding hallway,” reads one cable – dating from January 2010 – obtained by WikiLeaks and published today by the Irish Independent.

Visitors from Washington were advised they would need to show extreme patience if they required medical attention while on any visits here.

Read more from WikiLeaks in today’s Irish Independent >

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