January 22, 2018

Harris insists 'no effort being spared' to improve overcrowding situation in hospitals

12 January 2018, 09:37 | Taylor George

Naas hospital

Patients advised to avoid Naas Hospital due to high numbers presenting there

"Minister Harris must take these figures on board when considering the future of Portlaoise Hospital", said the TD. The country had people hanging off trolleys in the good times, so what chance do we have now.

Smaller hospitals such as Our Lady's Hospital in Navan increased from 595 in 2016 to 2435 in 2017 and Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe recorded 1569 trolley figures compared with 892 in 2016.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation says hospitals that manage patient flow well have fewer patients on trolleys.

The Health Minister has apologised to the hundreds of patients waiting on trolleys this week.

"There is ample evidence which confirms that high ED occupancy is associated with increased in-hospital mortality following admission from overcrowded EDs".

One woman, who did not want to be named, said that she had been there for hours and expected that she wouldn't be able to go anytime soon.

There were similar scenes in the A&E ward at the Mater Hospital.

Despite the headcount by nurses putting the figure at 656 - a level never seen before - Mr Harris said the crisis was a modest improvement on last winter when the 600 mark was also passed. "It appears to me, that staff and patients, on the front line, were abandoned while the system shutdown for Christmas and the New Year". These record numbers are unacceptable.

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"The shortage of beds, equipment and staff means that hospitals do not have the capacity to provide the care that the population needs and deserves", he said.

Damien McCallion, National Director Emergency Management & National Ambulance Service told RTÉ's News at One that smaller hospitals will find it more hard to overcome the current trolley crisis.

Harris said: "While recognising that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, we must continue to ensure the lessons that can be learned from those hospitals performing better are applied across the system".

"At every budget for the past five years, we have warned that the supposed increases in the health budgets were mirages and they would not even keep pace with the underlying cost increases in the services".

Phil Ni Sheaghdha, the newly-appointed general secretary of the union, said that on 28 and 29 December, 11 of the 29 hospitals used their full capacity protocol and placed extra patients on wards.

The HSE said the H3N2 strain also circulated past year and particularly affected the elderly, while young children are more susceptible to influenza B.

Generally, the flu season starts in January.

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