Saturday 25 February 2017

A&E department misery hasn’t gone away, you know

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Hospital overcrowding remains a problem for Leo Varadkar
Hospital overcrowding remains a problem for Leo Varadkar

The misery suffered by patients on trolleys in our A&E departments has raised its head again. In just four days, we heard of two patients, both over 100 years old, enduring more than 24 hours on desperately uncomfortable trolleys in overcrowded A&E departments. One of these ladies was in the A&E department in Tallaght.

We in the Tallaght Hospital Action Group review trolley counts provided by the INMO almost on a daily basis and they make very grim reading. On June 3, there were 477 patients on trolleys nationally. The INMO site, however, allows you to look back to previous years. On the same day in 2014, there were 219 patients on trolleys. That equates to a doubling of patients in one year. Issues about long waits in our A&E are not new. Health Minister Leo Varadkar said special “troubleshooter squads” would be sent into hospitals with acute A&E issues. It is hard not to be cynical about this initiative.

Tallaght Hospital has been visited by Mary Harney’s special task force (2006), the Dr Maurice Hayes report team, Hiqa (more than once) and the Special Delivery Unit teams (more than once). Tallaght Hospital is now part of a new initiative called the Irish Hospital Redesign Programme in partnership with the SDU that began in 2014 and is aiming to drive improvement and sustainability of scheduled, urgent and emergency care.

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