Patients on trolleys


Sir, – Your Editorial (January 13th) highlighted the continuing crisis in relation to ongoing overcrowding in hospitals, particularly in our emergency departments (ED).

The sad reality is that seven years after being described as a national emergency by the then Minister for Health, there is still no end in sight to this problem.

The fundamental problem with overcrowding stems from a reduction in bed numbers at a time of increasing population. The IMO believes that the problems in EDs will not be solved until this Government addresses the issue of integrated health care and bed capacity. It is the lack of vision and resources that cause the problems in EDs all over the country and it must be recognised that emergency departments represent just one of the many pressure points in the system.

The Special Delivery Unit (SDU) theoretically looks at the total picture of a hospital but the reality is that so much more needs to be done – where are the long stay units for elderly and high dependency patients? Where are the so-called community services? Where are the beds in the hospital when at any given time wards are closed for budgetary reasons further reducing capacity?

It is not acceptable to blame the crisis on the season of the year or the ageing of the population – the sad but true fact is that our health services are starved of resources and cannot deliver the quality of care required for patients. – Yours, etc,



Irish Medical Organisation,

Fitzwilliam Place,

Dublin 2.