The situation which unfolded at UCHG’s accident and emergency unit last week has been described as “utter chaos” by a man left waiting with his chronically ill wife for more than 24 hours.
The man, who identified himself as Patrick, was left stunned by the scenes that greeted him on his arrival at the unit. His wife was one of 50 people to be left waiting for treatment in the hallways and waiting room of the A and E department at the beginning of the week.
“I arrived over there with my wife by ambulance on Monday morning. The full length of corridor in the accident and emergency unit was jammed with trollies on both sides. Other sick people were left waiting on chairs and there was no privacy of any description.
“At one stage a queue formed outside the main door of the unit. The whole place was thronged and there was just utter chaos inside. The nurses and doctors are doing their upmost but they are completely understaffed.
“The space is totally inadequate for the needs that are there. Regardless of what political spin is put on this, it is an utter disgrace and a terrible reflection on the people that are running our country.
“The politicians need to get down here, see things for themselves, and make decisions. There has been humming and hawing for a while about money being allocated here and there, but there is nothing happening. I am touching 80 now, and growing old or sick in this country is a terrifying prospect.
“Having worked all of our lives, paid our dues, is this what we are entitled to at the end of the day: abandonment? How nurses and doctors are staying going is beyond me. If it was any other job they would be out on strike. They are completely overwhelmed in there.”
Senator Fidelma Healy Eames has also slammed the state of things at UCHG over the last few days:
“The Government need to put the people before the system. I don’t know how medical and nursing staff continue to cope. It is time the A and E was made a national emergency. Leo Varadkar was down in Galway the other day, but what is the point unless he puts emergency space in place.
“We have the most amazing space in Merlin Park. I know the doctors and nurses are not there, but we have got to look at using the resources within the health system at our disposal. The orthopaedics is there, and I do not understand why the psychiatric unit is not there as well.
“Mental health patients should not have to beat through crowds of people to receive care. Cancer patients should not be going to A and E. They should be going directly to the ward or oncology unit. We have to start putting people, particularly vulnerable people, before the system.
“It is very unfair to the staff and it is a wonder they are not taking cases against the HSE for the conditions they are working under. More importantly, it is not fair on patients. Health is a human right. We should not be pursuing growth at the expense of people’s health.”