Ireland’s Emergency Departments continue to struggle as the amount of patients waiting on hospital trolleys has shattered record levels for the second day in a row.
Yesterday, a staggering 656 patients awaited admission in Emergency Departments across Ireland. This has today risen to 677.
In Letterkenny University Hospital today, 26 patients are awaiting admission; 8 of whom are on trolleys, with a further 18 waiting in the wards. This marks a decrease from yesterday when a total of 35 patients were waiting for a bed at LUH.
St. Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny is the most overcrowded hospital in the country, with 54 patients waiting on trolleys.
The INMO has sought an emergency meeting of the ED Taskforce and is awaiting confirmation from the HSE that same will take place today or tomorrow.
In the meantime the INMO is receiving a number of distressed calls from members who describe intolerable working conditions and inhumane conditions for patients.
INMO General Secretary Phil Ni Sheaghdha has deemed the situation a “national emergency.”
“As predicted the January figures are unacceptably high. We are very concerned at the level of planning to avoid the situation that has been engaged in some locations and we have sought to meet with the HSE as a matter of urgency.
“We are awaiting their confirmation that this meeting will take place today, with a view to examining alternative arrangements for hospitals that are simply too overcrowded to continue to accept admissions.
“It is clear that a national emergency is now in place and certain locations simply cannot cope.
“These record numbers are unacceptable. It is intolerable for both patients and staff endeavouring to provide the best care possible to them.”
Ms. Ni Sheaghdha says that overcrowding leads to a greater risk of death for the patients and causes medical professionals to become exhausted.
“There is ample evidence which confirms that high ED occupancy is associated with increased in-hospital mortality following admission from overcrowded EDs. Evidence also confirms that patients, admitted through overcrowded Emergency Departments have longer hospital stays.
“An increase in a nurse’s workload, by one patient, increases the likelihood of an inpatient dying within 30 days of admission by 7%.
“High levels of burnout have been reported amongst nurses working overcrowded environments”.
Health Minister Simon Harris says that “no effort or resource is being spared to improve this situation.”
Minister Harris says that despite rising demand today’s HSE trolleygar figures show the lowest trolley numbers for the first Tuesday in January in 3 years.
The trolleygar, however, omits patients waiting on trolleys along ward areas.
“We are entering a difficult few weeks and our health services are experiencing extra pressure because of the flu season,” he explained.
“Traditionally these weeks are always the busiest, and when you couple that with the current strain of flu and our growing and aging population these are very busy times for our hospitals.
“I would encourage everyone to follow HSE advice in the coming days and take steps to prevent the spread of the flu. I would also remind people that it is not too late to get the flu vaccine.”Tags: