IMO predicting number of patients on trolleys set to exceed 1,000 this winter

Lack of emergency department resources, a lack of beds and a lack of recruitment will combine to create ‘perfect storm’ in hospitals

Figures obtained by Fianna Fáil health spokesman Stephen Donnelly last week show nearly 10,000 patients over the age of 75 were on trolleys for at least 24 hours in the first eight months of the year. Photograph: Getty Images

Figures obtained by Fianna Fáil health spokesman Stephen Donnelly last week show nearly 10,000 patients over the age of 75 were on trolleys for at least 24 hours in the first eight months of the year. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Ireland’s hospitals face another chaotic winter with the number of patients on trolleys set to exceed 1,000, the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has predicted.

A lack of emergency department resources, a lack of beds and a lack of recruitment will combine to create a “perfect storm” in hospitals this winter, it claims.

That will lead to over 1,000 people being left on trolleys and a severely hampered health service, according to IMO president Dr Peadar Gilligan.

The current record for the number of patients waiting in emergency department or on wards for admission to a hospital bed is 714, set last March 12th.

“The IMO has long warned that you cannot have a removal of resources without an impact on services. Successive governments’ lack of investment in our health service will be seen in hospitals across the country this winter,” Dr Gilligan said.

Earlier this month €10 million was allocated in Budget 2019 for the opening of new beds. Over 600 new beds are promised over the next few years, but the first tranche of 80 beds will not be in place until next spring, too late for the winter peak period.

Figures obtained by Fianna Fáil health spokesman Stephen Donnelly last week show nearly 10,000 patients over the age of 75 were on trolleys for at least 24 hours in the first eight months of the year.

“We will be told in January that it is a ‘flu crisis’ or a ‘winter crisis’ – it is not. It is a failure of policy,” Dr Gilligan said.

He added that the capacity constraints affecting the system include nearly 500 unfilled consultant posts, 2,650 less beds than we currently require in Irish hospitals, and a need for over 1,000 additional general practitioners.