Winter vomiting bug and flu add to trolley misery for patients
There were almost 500 patients waiting for hospital beds as flu and an outbreak of the winter vomiting bug worsened overcrowding nationwide.
Tullamore Hospital had 43 patients on trolleys or in wards waiting on beds while the next worst hit emergency department was University Hospital Limerick with 38.
The congestion led to 35 patients lying on trolleys in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin yesterday morning. They were among 496 patients around the country needing a bed.
The son of an elderly women in Beaumont Hospital, who did not wished to be named, said they had been waiting over seven hours and had not been assigned a trolley.
"My mother has had tests all day, but we've just been waiting and shifted from place to place. It just seems like nothing is happening. The staff are doing their best, but there is just not enough space or staff to cope. The whole area is jammed and people are just waiting for hours on trolleys."
A spokeswoman for Beaumont said its emergency department was one of the busiest in Ireland, providing services to more than 50,000 patients each year.
She said: "In recent days, Beaumont Hospital has been experiencing increased pressure on services including the emergency department, exacerbated by the closure of a number of beds and a delay in discharges due to an outbreak of the norovirus (winter vomiting bug) and influenza in the community.
"Beaumont is asking that patients presenting with symptoms of the influenza or norovirus seek advice from their local GP before coming to the hospital emergency department."
The hospital has put in place visiting restrictions as a preventative measure to help contain the outbreak.
These include one visitor only per patient per visiting period. Children are not permitted to visit in any circumstances.
She said the hospital was appealing to the public for their support in observing these restrictions for the common good.
Elsewhere, Naas General Hospital had 32 patients waiting for a bed yesterday.
The HSE said 242 of the promised 301 new beds were now open nationally. And 116 of some 154 closed beds had been reopened, said a spokesman.