Sunday 24 September 2017

Lack of care and dignity top list of A&E complaints

Beaumont Hospital
Beaumont Hospital
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

complaints about treatment and care, delays, poor communication as well as lack of dignity and respect are the top grievances lodged by long-suffering patients cared for in one of the hospitals worst hit by emergency overcrowding.

Figures reveal Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, which had 45 patients on trolleys yesterday, received more than ten complaints a month in the first half of last year about emergency department conditions.

More than half the 65 complaints related to the treatment and care of patients in the department, figures obtained by the Irish Independent under the Freedom of Information Act revealed.

Three related to diagnosis of an illness and another three were about the state of cleanliness, it emerged.

Beaumont had the second highest number of patients on trolleys yesterday with Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda struggling with 50 patients waiting for a bed.

Nationally, hospitals experienced one of the worst days for overcrowding this winter as 530 patients endured delays before getting a bed.

Other hospitals under major pressure were University Hospital, Galway and University Hospital, Limerick as well as the Mercy Hospital in Cork which is battling a flu outbreak.

Nurses warned that conditions in Drogheda were "dangerous" with many patients, including the elderly, enduring four to five days on a trolley.

Despite an agreement to hire more staff and open extra beds there are still more than 50 patients who need to be discharged with a home care package or to nursing home in wards.

Meanwhile, complaints made by patients in the emergency department of Tallaght Hospital in the first half of last year also revealed the main issue was the lack of safe and effective care.

They also lodged official grievances about poor access to a bed and a lack of dignity and respect.

Poor communication was also cited in the log of complaints.

The Irish Association for Emergency Medicine, representing emergency consultants, said while it acknowledged some improvement in the number of patients waiting on trolleys for an inpatient bed in mid-January, this deteriorated in the past two weeks.

"While numbers are down from the shameful record of early January 2015, they are still clearly unacceptable," they added.

"Evidence shows that if a patient is over the age of 75 and remains on a hospital trolley for more than 12 hours, they will experience increased length of stay as a hospital inpatient; have a lesser likelihood of being able to return to an independent existence and suffer greater numbers of complications.

Irish Independent

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