Murphy hits out at ongoing overcrowding issues at Portiuncula A&E department

Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy has hit out at the ongoing overcrowding issues at Portiuncula A&E department which left a number of sick children having to be transported by ambulance to the Midlands Regional Hospital in Mullingar for treatment over the weekend.

Deputy Murphy pointed out that there had been an increase in viral respiratory problems particularly in young children and this obviously had a knock on effect on hospitals throughout the country including Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe.

The Fianna Fáil Deputy noted that a number of families with sick children from County Roscommon ended up having to be transported by ambulance to the Midlands Regional Hospital in Mullingar due to a lack of beds in the paediatric ward in Ballinasloe.

Deputy Murphy also pointed out that a number of elderly people some of whom were in their nineties were left lying on trolleys in the A&E department of Portiuncula on Friday night.

“According to INMO figures, there were 12 people on trollies in Portiuncula Hospital on Friday and I understand that Friday night was particularly busy in the A&E with a number of elderly people left lying on trolleys including a number of people in their nineties.

“The continual overcrowding problems in Portiuncula Hospital are being exasperated by the closure of St Clare’s ward at the weekend which could have provided an additional 16 to 18 beds. I understand that St Clare’s ward which is a day ward which is open during the weekdays was closed on Friday night which only added to the overcrowding problems in the A&E,” he said.

“This is obviously due to a staffing or resources issue and is having a detrimental knock on effect on overcrowding at the A&E and a further 19 people were on trolleys in Ballinasloe today, Monday. The figures in the University College Hospital Galway are considerably worse with a total of 40 people on trolleys in A&E and overcrowded wards on Friday and 30 on Monday,” said Deputy Murphy.

The Fianna Fáil Deputy went on to say that the people of County Roscommon were being treated like second hand citizens when it came to health care as Portiuncula Hospital is designated as their nearest A&E and despite this, last weekend many patients from Roscommon ended up in the Midlands Regional Hospital in Mullingar.

“I am aware of one particular family from County Roscommon whose six-year-old son had suspected appendicitis and they attended Portiuncula Hospital on Friday evening around 6p.m. – The child was badly dehydrated and it was thought he would need to be operated on to remove the appendix.

“That child was left lying on a trolley in a resuscitation area as there were no treatment rooms left in the A&E and he then ended up being transported by ambulance to Mullingar and eventually got a bed in the paediatric ward in Mullingar around 5am, some 11 hours after he first arrived in Ballinasloe. The child received excellent care in Mulling, but the point is Portiuncula A&E is supposed to be the designated A&E for people from Roscommon and yet the resources are clearly not in Ballinasloe to deal with ongoing overcrowding issues,” concluded Deputy Murphy.

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