Medics lash 'appalling' A&E situation as HSE says trolley list down
PATIENTS who are infectious are lying on trolleys near people whose immune systems are weakened, posing serious risks in crowded hospital emergency departments, it has been claimed.
Trainee emergency doctors said they are struggling due to a lack of space and described some of the conditions as "appalling".
These conditions should not go unchallenged and they currently pose a danger as the numbers on trolleys rise, the doctors said.
The 24 medics in the Irish Emergency Medicine Trainees' Association (IEMTA) outlined their serious concerns in a letter to the watchdog HIQA and the Health Service Executive.
However, the HSE insisted that there has been a 34pc reduction in the number of people on trolleys in emergency departments in 2013 compared to 2011.
Yesterday, 308 patients were on trolleys in emergency departments and another 86 in wards, with University Hospital Galway the worst affected with 44 people waiting for a bed.
Thirty seven patients were on trolleys in Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown, Dublin, while 33 were in the same predicament in Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda, Co Louth
Dr Aileen McCabe, the IEMTA's president, said the national recommendations contained in the May 2012 HIQA report of an investigation into overcrowding at Tallaght Hospital were being ignored by managers across the country.
"In any human rights issue such as this there are inevitably bystanders and up-standers.
"We ask you to stand with us and stand up for our patients," the association urged in the letter.
In response, the HSE said that hospitals have been experiencing pressures in recent weeks, in part as a result of the seasonal flux in hospital activity that traditionally takes place after Christmas and New Year.
"A similar pattern has occurred in services in Northern Ireland and in England, with a large surge in activity and waiting times since the start of the year."
A spokeswoman insisted that hospitals are working with the Special Delivery Unit to ensure they balance the demand for scheduled and emergency care, to maximise discharge planning, and take additional measures to relieve pressures as required.
"A key support to underpin the above is the provision of additional funding for enhanced home and community care packages and targeted funding to address areas of acute services experiencing increased demand."
Commenting on the follow- up to the HIQA report she said "work is well under way to implement all of the recommendations in hospitals".
The progress report of July last year showed doctors were carrying out early morning ward rounds to free up beds.