Saturday 19 August 2017

Tallaght reopens ward to ease beds crisis

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

TALLAGHT Hospital has not had to move any patients on trolleys to a corridor in the past week to relieve emergency overcrowding.

The accident and emergency department was ordered by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) to stop placing the patients on corridors from September 1.

It had been under pressure due to overcrowding in the emergency department for much of the year and the unit was described as a "dangerous place" by a coroner at an inquest in recent months.

This prompted a decision by HIQA to carry out an inspection of the hospital's emergency department, which is now under way.

After the opening of 15 closed beds in the hospital last week, the overcrowding has eased. Yesterday, 10 patients were on trolleys, according to figures compiled by nurses.

While the crisis has eased, doctors and nurses yesterday remained cautious and said its performance would have to be monitored over several weeks and months to determine if a real improvement had taken place.

A spokesperson for the hospital said it was now working on a "number of initiatives throughout the hospital", including the use of a ward where beds are re-opened.

John McInerney, spokesman for the country's emergency consultants, yesterday said that Tallaght was now able to ease the overcrowding following the HIQA instruction.

HIQA inspectors are in the hospital examining the systems in place in the emergency department and the rest of the facility that are contributing to the overcrowding.

Difference

Derek Reilly, industrial relations officer at Tallaght for the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, said the opening of 14 beds in the last week had made a major difference.

However, he said it was early days and too soon to draw any conclusions about the pressure of overcrowding in the coming weeks and months.

Meanwhile, nurses at Wexford General Hospital are to be balloted next week on possible industrial action as the trolley crisis continues.

Members of the INMO at the hospital are considering industrial action, which could range from work-to-rule up to strike action, in protest at the hospital's new policy of moving excess trolleys onto already overcrowded wards.

August saw a record 490 people on trolleys, waiting to be admitted to beds at the Wexford hospital.

Irish Independent

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