Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy has said that overcrowding and long waiting periods continue to be an issue at the emergency department in Portiuncula Hospital as the trolley crisis is now an all year round emergency.
Deputy Murphy said he was acutely aware of the ongoing issues at the A&E department in Portiuncula hospital as his own 82 year-old mother was left sitting on a chair for over twelve hours in the past week.
“There was always an issue with overcrowding during winter months due to seasonal flu but now the trolley crisis seems to be ongoing throughout the year as people have been left lying on trolleys in emergency departments even during the summer months.
“It is only September and already there are problems. Only last week my 82 year old mother had to wait for over twelve hours sitting on a chair in the emergency department of Portiuncula hospital. She was sitting from 6.30pm on a Friday evening until after 7am on Saturday morning. Apart from the obvious discomfort, there was no vending or coffee machine working in the emergency department waiting area.
“My mother was also very concerned about a number of children who spent the night in buggies waiting in the emergency department. I must stress that this is not just about my mother but it is an issue for so many families who find themselves or their loved ones in these situations,” the Deputy noted.
Deputy Murphy commended the staff at the hospital whom, he said, are working under extreme conditions.
“I must also stress that the staff and the subsequent care which my mother received was not in question and I appreciate that the staff are working under extreme conditions and doing their best but the problem is a lack of bed capacity.
“There are numerous wards in many Irish hospitals that are left idle and need to be opened up. There are also excellent step down facilities that could be used to look after non-acute patients- we need to examine every opportunity to increase acute hospital capacity.
“We need to speed up the process of discharging patients who are well enough to go home or to a step-down facility. If we are trying to admit people to hospitals, others need to be discharged. Minister Harris and the HSE must outline their plans for the forthcoming winter. This issue needs to be addressed before we head into the peak winter season,” Deputy Murphy concluded.