More than 600 patients were treated on trolleys in UHG's emergency department in May this year - an increase of 92 per cent from 349 in May 2016 - a statistic a Galway TD has described as "scandalous".
Fianna Fáil Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte was reacting to new data from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation which showed 671 patients treated on trolleys in the emergency department. She described the year on year increased recorded by the INMO as "startling", adding: "The numbers have practically doubled, and yet the available space and staff numbers remain the same."
Dep Rabbitte said the fault for the "shocking increase" was down to "successive Fine Gael Health Ministers" and Government inaction in the building of a new emergency department. She said "despite constant pleas from staff, patients groups, and local TDs" funds have yet to be released for the design stage of any new department.
The Portumna based TD said UHG ED was "consistently one of the most overcrowded" in the State, with full capacity protocols being implemented on an almost weekly basis.
"It is cruel to subject patients and staff to the indignity which they are currently experiencing," she said. “The existing emergency department is unfit for purpose and we need a conscious effort from Minister Harris and his Cabinet colleagues to address the crisis at UHG. He needs to outline what progress has been made on the new department since he announced funding earlier this year. If the money has been earmarked, it needs to be drawn down so that construction on a new department can begin without delay."