56 extra hospital beds open, but delays hit Galway
Only 56 of the extra 301 hospital beds due before the end of the year to ease A&E overcrowding have been opened, it emerged yesterday.
And it will be early next year before the additional beds in University Hospital Galway - one of the worst-hit hospitals for congestion - will be ready.
The update came at a meeting of the group charged with the implementation of the task force plan to reduce the trolley crisis over the winter.
A spokesman for the HSE said that 56 of the much-needed beds have opened and that the "majority" of the remaining beds will be available this month.
The delay in opening the beds in Galway is due to the need for "infrastructural" works, he added.
Trolley numbers were more than 40pc higher than 2014 at their peak this year. They are currently 18pc higher than last year's levels.
St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin had 23 patients on trolleys yesterday morning despite the mild weather.
Outside of Dublin, Naas General Hospital was struggling with 20 patients on trolleys.
The HSE's August performance report - showing the proportion of all patients attending emergency departments during the month and who were discharged or admitted within six or nine hours of registration - has increased slightly on the year to July.
The Department of Health said that while the August figure for delayed discharges - patients who no longer need acute care and need a nursing home bed or home care - was 577. The latest figures, from October 20, show numbers were down to 542, "the lowest point for many years".
This means that since last January, 265 acute hospital beds are now freed up for the acutely unwell, it said.