South Tipperary hospital ‘bursting at seams for years’

Clonmel hospital facing 45 people on trolleys despite recent opening of new 12-bay area

“It is very distressing for patients and their relatives and working conditions are impossible,” said Paud O’Regan.

“It is very distressing for patients and their relatives and working conditions are impossible,” said Paud O’Regan.

 

A familiar overcrowding crisis overwhelmed South Tipperary General Hospital on Tuesday with 45 patients languishing on hospital trolleys, the third highest number in the country.

Hospital management pleaded with the public to stay away unless in cases of genuine emergency only and hospital staff are bracing themselves for conditions to deteriorate even further in the months ahead.

The crisis was described as “inevitable” by consultant physician Paud O’Regan because the hospital had been “bursting at the seams for years”.

The Clonmel hospital still had to contend with 45 people on trolleys on Tuesday despite the opening of a new 12-bay overflow area in November at a hospital that has consistently featured at the top of the INMO trolley watch figures in the last few years.

A contract for a new €6 million 40-bed modular unit designed to tackle the overcrowding crisis in Clonmel is due to be signed before the end of the month, but that facility will arrive too late for patients this winter.

Long delays

“Huge numbers presented over the last few days and we are expecting it to get even worse over the coming months.After long delays and years of waiting the Department of Health and the HSE are moving to address the overcrowding in Clonmel but everything possible has to be done to get this new modular unit in place before next winter,” said Paud O’Regan.

The consultant said every available space was taken up with trolleys as staff tried to cope with the crisis.

“It is very distressing for patients and their relatives and working conditions are impossible,” said Paud O’Regan.

A distressed Michael Ryan from Cashel was among those lying on a trolley in a corridor in the hospital outside the emergency department.

“It is absolutely scandalous on the patients and the staff here who have been brilliant and I received great care,” said Michael.

“I came in at 10am on Monday to the emergency department, I waited until nine that night to get onto a trolley and I am still here on Tuesday afternoon with no sign of a bed. It is just chaotic, conditions are atrocious for patients and staff,” he said.