Letterkenny University Hospital is enduring an extremely busy week with an average of 120 patients attending the Emergency Department every day.
The number surged beyond this yesterday, with the ED becoming so busy that patients had to wait outside in ambulances in the afternoon. At one point, ten ambulances were queued from the department.
Management drafted in two extra crews and engaged with community paramedics to deal with the overflow. Within the hospital, consultants were called in to provide extra cover.
Cllr Gerry McMonagle, Chair of the Regional Health Form West, speaking after the ‘crisis averted’ point, said the situation was an example of the serious problems at the hospital. He said the hospital must seek extra support to cope with the lack of staff and the rise in patient numbers.
Letterkenny University Hospital continues to be impacted by COVID-19 too. The number of patients with COVID-19 rose from 23 to 26 yesterday.
A statement from Saolta yesterday evening confirmed that the hospital was under pressure and said: “The high number of people attending who need to be admitted for ongoing treatment means that there is pressure on bed availability and this is resulting in significant delays being experienced by patients in the Emergency Department who are waiting for a bed to become available on a ward.
“All available beds are in use including an additional 23 escalation beds. Every effort is being made to discharge patients who are ready to go home so that beds will become available for patients who need to be admitted, at the earliest opportunity.
“The hospital acknowledges that these delays are very difficult for patients and their families and apologises for the inconvenience and distress these delays cause.
“The hospital is committed to treating everyone who presents at the Emergency Department; people who are seriously injured or ill are assessed and treated as a priority and those who do not require urgent care may be waiting longer. If your health problem is not an emergency you should contact your GP during normal surgery hours or the NoWDOC GP out of hours service, in the first instance.”