Tallaght Hospital cancels all non–urgent elective surgeries

Hospital has experienced ‘sustained pressure’ over past week due to increased ED numbers

Tallaght Hospital has the biggest emergency department in the country. Photograph: David Sleator

Tallaght Hospital has the biggest emergency department in the country. Photograph: David Sleator

 

Tallaght Hospital has cancelled all non-urgent elective surgery following “sustained pressure” over the past week due to increased numbers attending its emergency department.

In a statement, the hospital, which has the biggest emergency department in the country, said it has experienced a 10 per cent increase in the number of adults attending the emergency department, with a 22 per cent increase in patients aged over 75, compared to the same period last year

The hospital says it is also experiencing “a higher than normal number” of delayed discharges, further reducing beds.

“The hospital has activated its full capacity protocol with non-urgent elective activity cancelled, all escalation beds in use, rapid access to diagnostics in situ and additional consultant ward discharge rounds ongoing,” the statement said.

The public have been asked to avoid making unnecessary visits to the emergency department and to attend their GP where possible.

Visitors have also been restricted as part of infection control measures.

“We apologise for any delays in waiting times as patients in the emergency department are prioritised according to clinical need,” the hospital said.

Tallaght Hospital will telephone those whose surgeries have been cancelled.

1,000 additional hospital beds needed

The news comes as at least 1,000 additional hospital beds are needed immediately and 325 more will be needed every year for the next two decades to cope with the health needs of our growing elderly population, an organisation representing GPs has said.

Dr Pádraig McGarry, chairman of the Irish Medical Organisation’s GP committee, made his comments on Friday a day after the Health Service Executive announced the immediate opening of 60 step-down beds – to be followed by the opening of a further 63 acute hospital beds in coming weeks – to ease the latest winter trolley crisis in hospital emergency departments.

While the number of extra beds the HSE has announced is far fewer than Dr McGarry suggests are needed, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has already said the additional beds due to open soon cannot be opened until extra staff are made available.