Tuesday 17 September 2019

Fourteen children left stranded on trolleys as winter overcrowding pressure intensifies


Seán Moynihan: chief executive of charity for the elderly, Alone
Seán Moynihan: chief executive of charity for the elderly, Alone
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Fourteen children were waiting on trolleys in the main children's hospitals yesterday morning as winter overcrowding pressures escalated.

Seven children were waiting for a bed in Temple Street Hospital and a similar number of young patients were on trolleys in Our Lady's Hospital Crumlin.

The figures outlined in the HSE's TrolleyGAR monitoring come as nurses counted 425 patients languishing on trolleys across the country. The worst hit were University Hospital Limerick where 63 patients were without a bed and Cork University Hospital which had 34 people on trolleys.

Health Minister Simon Harris has promised 550 additional home care packages will be funded to relieve overcrowding during the worst weeks of the winter.

Tony O'Donovan, director of Home Instead Senior Care which is contracted by the HSE to provide home care, said the extra packages should "make a difference to older people who prefer to be at home, but otherwise would be forced to stay in hospital due to lack of home care options".

Meanwhile, 25 NGOs have called on the Government to address the chronic underfunding of home care.

There are more than 6,000 people across the State waiting for some form of home care from the HSE.

One of the problems is that it is now more thinly spread, with more people getting support half-an-hour a day instead of an hour.

Seán Moynihan of charity Alone said: "The winter healthcare crisis goes beyond trolleys and must be viewed within the wider context of care in the community and care in the home.

"Hospital and community care must work together to address this."

Irish Independent

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