Overcrowding has "reached epidemic levels" and become "completely unsustainable" at the emergency department of University Hospital Galway, after it was reported that 250 patients presented at the unit in a 12 hour period.
The situation has led Fianna Fáil Galway East TD, Anne Rabbitte, to declare the current emergency unit "unsuitable to deal with the demands being placed on it". She said this a result of UHG being "starved of investment". She is now calling for funding to be found and for the project to be fast tracked.
“University Hospital Galway needs a new emergency department," she said. "The existing one is not fit for purpose. Frontline staff are working in unacceptable conditions; their jobs are already extremely pressurised. Conditions there have deteriorated drastically over the past few years."
Dep Rabbitte said it was "no longer uncommon" for people to be have to wait "for hours on plastic chairs before being seen". She added: "This is shameful, and despite the problem being highlighted regularly, nothing is being done by the Government to address it."
Dep Rabbitte said the "current situation is simply not sustainable and lives are being put at risk”.