Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital back on call for emergencies

Nurses call on HSE to activate major disaster plan for Drogheda hospital due to trolley numbers

Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital said the emergency room is back on call since 8am after going off at midnight for patient and staff safety on "a particularly busy" night.

Earlier today the Irish Nurses and Midwives Association has called on the HSE (Health Service Executive) to activate its major disaster plan for the Drogheda hospital because there were 71 admitted patients waiting on trolleys for a bed.

The call was made on Friday by INMO industrial relations officer Tony Fitzpatrick who said, “There are 48 people on trolleys in the emergency department who have been admitted and are waiting for beds. There are another 6 patients on trolleys within the hospital and in the medical assessment unit, there are 17 people on trolleys waiting for beds. That is a total of 71.”

He said the hospital was taken off-call for emergencies at midnight on Thursday. “The hospital needs to invoke the major disaster plan. It was designed for when a hospital is overwhelmed by a major trauma such as a bus crash or train crash. Based on the numbers on trolleys at the minute, there are more than there would be if there was a bus or a train crash.”


“The situation for the nurses is just horrendous. There should be 18 nurses in the emergency department but there are only 10. That is in breach of an agreement reached at the LRC in February,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.

He also said the HSE was in breach of a commitment it gave as part of the same LRC agreement that patients would be taken off the three corridors in the ED by the 1st of this month.

One person who was in the emergency department overnight last night said, “there wasn’t standing room. It was unreal.”

Ambulance sources said crews were advised that medical, surgical and trauma patients were to be brought to other acute hospitals in Dublin and Cavan because of the over-crowding situation overnight.

In a statement the hospital said it had been back on call since 8am . “Discharges are due at the hospital today with consultants on rounds since 7am. The hospital went off call at midnight last night to ensure safety of staff and patients with 48 on trolleys and not the higher reported number claimed,” it said.

It said last night was “particularly busy” at the emergency department. A second on call system was put in place by the hospital group of which it is part, it said.