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Wednesday 21 March 2018

Despairing patients 'sleep on seats in the waiting area'

Orla McGovern (18), from Kilkenny, at St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin. Photo: Mark Condren
Orla McGovern (18), from Kilkenny, at St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin. Photo: Mark Condren

Ian Begley, Ralph Riegel and Amy Molloy

An 84-year-old woman was left languishing on a trolley for more than 24 hours in one of Dublin's busiest hospitals.

The elderly woman was one of 15 patients left waiting for a bed at Tallaght Hospital yesterday.

Six patients were without a bed for more than 24 hours, while four people aged in their 70s were forced to wait on a trolley.

The Irish Independent spoke to a number of patients from various overcrowding hospitals who were waiting for beds since early Monday.

A patient in a corridor in St Vincent’s
A patient in a corridor in St Vincent’s

One man (68), who had a major heart operation five years ago and presented himself to Tallaght Hospital with chest pains, had to sleep on the chairs in the sub-waiting area as there wasn't even a trolley available.

"I've been here 16 hours now and I've only had bloods done and an ECG taken," he said.

"The staff are fantastic. It's the system and the Government letting them down. I mean, I'm 68, I can't cope with this."

Another woman had been waiting in the A&E department since 1.30pm on Monday with a head and shoulder injury. Her arm was in a sling and she could barely talk as she was suffering from a pounding headache.

A patient in Tallaght Hospital waiting on a trolley
A patient in Tallaght Hospital waiting on a trolley

"I had to sleep on the seats, I couldn't even get a trolley. I didn't come in with a cold either and now I have one. It's terrible."

Hospitals continued to run out of beds yesterday as A&Es saw little reprieve from last week's record figures with 575 patients on trolleys across the country, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

The worst-hit hospitals included Cork University Hospital, which had 46 patients waiting for a bed, and Letterkenny General Hospital, which had 44 patients on trolleys.

Many patients in St Vincent's University Hospital said they believed the Government would rather "pass the buck" than solve the trolley crisis.

But despite 37 people waiting for beds at the hospital, patients seemed to have a positive experience with its medical staff.

One such person was Kilkenny native Orla McGovern (18), who accompanied her friend to the hospital. "We were waiting longer than I thought, but it wasn't as bad as I expected," she said. "Anyone I've ever spoken to in hospital has always said that the nurses and staff are absolutely fantastic.

"There is just not enough funding. The staff shortages are crazy and the nurses are expected to do the impossible.

"The Government has been making promises for years, but I just think it's just to keep us quiet than committing to make a genuine difference."

Hospital patient Liam Whelan said the trolley crisis had been going on for too long for him to get his hopes up.

"They all say they will do something in the next two or three years, but by that point there will be someone else in government," he said.

"They're just passing the buck onto the next person."

Irish Independent

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