Second highest number recorded on hospital trolleys this year
INMO says 554 on trolleys after highest 2016 figure of 558 registered on January 5th
A total of 554 patients were recorded on trolleys in hospitals across the State on Tuesday, March 8th, 2016. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times
A total of 554 patients were recorded on trolleys in hospitals across the State on Tuesday, the second highest figure recorded this year.
Figures from the Irish Nurse and Midwife Organisation (INMO) show there were 50 patients left on trolleys in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin this morning and 50 in St Vincent’s Hospital – both the highest in the country.
There has been an increase of almost 33 per cent in the number of patients waiting for hospital beds on Tuesday, up from 419 on Monday.
There are 42 people waiting on hospital beds in University Hospital Galway, where the full-capacity protocol has been implemented to deal with the overcrowding.
The highest trolley figure so far this year was 558, recorded on January 5th.
The highest ever figure, 601, was reached in January 2015.
Mullingar, Cork and Tullamore hospitals had 34 patients on trolleys while Limerick Hospital has 35.
University Hospital Galway (UHG) said significant numbers of patients are awaiting admission.
“Due to this increased level of activity and subsequent admissions, we regret that patients are experiencing significant delays in being transferred from the emergency department to a bed in the hospital,” read the statement from the hospital.
UHG has also deferred non-urgent elective procedures. It called on the public to visit the emergency department only in the case of real emergencies and advised people to contact their GP or GP out-of-hours service in the first instance.
The number of people enduring long waits for outpatient appointments has jumped almost 80 per cent since the start of the year while inpatient delays rose three-fold, latest figures show.
Beaumont Hospital in Dublin has more than 2,500 outpatients waiting more than 15 months to be seen and Galway University Hospital has more than 1,800.
A Department of Health spokeman said: “Significant efforts have been taken to manage the rise in demand at emergency departments under a four-pronged approach to reduce numbers presenting, expand hospital capacity, ensure timely patient discharge and implement escalation protocols.
“As a result, on many days this year the numbers on trollies, while high, have been lower than the same day last year. Since last year extra funding of €117 million has been invested, progress has been made in reducing delayed discharges, and the waiting time for a nursing home place has fallen from 16 weeks to just two.
“More than 200 new beds have been opened and 115 closed beds have reopened, 750 more nurses and 78 more consultants have been recruited, 170 community beds across Ireland have opened and 1,200 extra home-care packages have been provided.
“However, there has been a 9 per cent rise in the numbers presenting at emergency departments so far this year and the flu season has been longer than in 2015. There is now a renewed focus on additional community facilities and recruiting extra staff to allow us to open further beds,” the spokesman said.