Almost 6,000 people elderly people left waiting in A&Es for 24 hours as target is slammed as 'pathetic'
Almost 6,000 people aged over 75 years were left waiting more than 24 hours for A&E treatment so far this year.
Shocking new figures released by the HSE show that hospitals around the country are routinely missing their own targets.
The HSE's service plan for 2017 says that all attendees aged 75 and over at emergency departments (EDs) should be either discharged or admitted within 24 hours. In reality, however, 5,880 people in that age category have waited longer than this.
The worst offenders were University Hospital in Limerick (838 such cases), the Mater in Dublin (702) and Galway University Hospital (678).
Fianna Fáil's health spokesman Billy Kelleher said he was "appalled" by the figures and that the Government and the HSE were falling way short of what is required to provide a decent health service.
"It's not acceptable that so many older and more vulnerable people should have to endure such long waits in emergency departments," Mr Kelleher said.
"Frankly, a target of 24 hours is pathetic in itself and it is setting the bar way too low. International research suggests that there is an increase in adverse outcomes for patients who have been in an ED for more than four to six hours."
Yesterday, the INMO reported more than 400 people on trolleys nationwide.
Mr Kelleher said that if the trend continued "some 10,000 older people will have to wait more than 24 hours".
He added: "The fact remains that the acute hospital budget is completely inadequate to meet patient demand."