Portiuncula A&E under continued pressure

The number of people on trolleys at Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe was one of the highest in the country on Monday this week (January 9 ). With 26 people on trolleys that day, it was the sixth highest figure of the country’s 33 hospitals.

By Tuesday the figure had dropped to 12, but was back up to 23 yesterday (Wednesday ).

A similar pattern occurred in the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar, where the numbers on trolleys were 28 on Monday, 19 on Tuesday, and hit 30 on Wednesday, the second highest in the country that day.

Last week, ‘trolley watch’ figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO ) revealed that a record number of patients, some 612, were on trolleys in hospitals around the country.

Local hospitals felt the impact, with patients being warned not to come to A&E Portiuncula in the early days of the new year due to increased pressure on resources. Mullingar and Tullamore hospitals hit highs of 32 and 45 respectively early last week.

Criticising the “chronic overcrowding” in emergency departments nationwide, Roscommon-Galway TD Eugene Murphy said Minister for Health Simon Harris had “failed miserably” in addressing the hospital overcrowding crisis.

“Every time anyone raised a concern, Minister Harris and his officials trumpeted the Winter Health Initiative, and the additional resources being allocated. Let’s call a spade a spade: the Winter Initiative has failed, and Minister Harris must now review what his Department and the HSE are doing to ensure that fewer, not more, patients are waiting on hospital trolleys for the rest of winter 2017,” he said.

“Lives are being put at risk. It has now gotten to a stage where the HSE believes that 300 to 400 patients lying on a trolley every day waiting for admission is acceptable.

“It’s not, and the Minister needs to bring forward proposals that increase capacity in our hospital wards and ensure those that need a ward bed get one as quickly as possible.”

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