THE equivalent of two full wards of patients were left on trolleys in one of the worst-hit hospitals for A&E overcrowding yesterday – prompting nurses to describe the conditions as inhumane.
The surge in people attending the emergency department of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda saw 60 patients on trolleys in the morning.
It comes as Health Minister James Reilly recently convened a "trolley summit" meeting with the head of the HSE Tony O'Brien and other senior officials.
A spokeswoman for the hospital said it was exceptionally busy and management invoked the full escalation plan. She said staff were working with senior clinicians to utilise all resources effectively.
"This means that the most critically ill patients are prioritised for treatment and available beds. As a result, some patients may experience delays in being seen and where necessary admitted; patients attending with minor injuries will experience longer wait times in the department."
Nationally, there were 320 patients on trolleys in hospital emergency departments yesterday and another 72 on trolleys in wards.
St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin and Waterford Regional Hospital, as well as Limerick Regional Hospital, were particularly badly hit.