Wednesday 20 June 2018

Hospitals set out wishlists for multi-million euro plan to tackle trolley crisis

Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Frank McGrath
Health Minister Simon Harris. Photo: Frank McGrath
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

A revamped multi-million euro plan to try to tackle the winter trolley crisis will aim to target funding and relief to the needs of each individual hospital.

The plan, which moves away from the "one-size-fits-all" winter initiative of last year, will get special funding in the upcoming Budget. But the pressures are already mounting and a leading medic revealed two patients were on trolleys for two days this week because of a lack of beds in Tallaght Hospital.

Health Minister Simon Harris said they asked each hospital to set out a shopping list of things that could make a difference during the winter surge in A&E departments.

It might be a patient discharge co-ordinator in one hospital, a porter in another, beds or access to diagnostics, he said.

However, a damning memo to the minister and other members of the Oireachtas from a worried emergency department consultant has warned of "grave risk to patients on trolleys".

The memo, which has been seen by the Irish Independent, was written by Dr James Gray, an emergency consultant in Tallaght Hospital.

Dr Gray's memo, written on Wednesday, said there were 21 patients who needed a hospital bed in the emergency department at that time.

"There are further trolleys in other parts of the hospital.

"Fourteen patients are languishing 24 or more [hours] in the emergency department, two for two days or more.

"Ten patients are occupying cubicles that deny ambulance arrivals and waiting room patients access into the service. Seven patients are occupying conduits/corridors, which are clearly not designated patient areas and are an evacuation hazard.

"Six patients needed isolation for infection and only one was in an isolation room. The oldest patient is 77 years of age."

Dr Gray told Mr Harris: "It is only a matter of time before we have our next untimely trolley-related death here due to overcrowding."

Fianna Fáil health spokesperson Billy Kelleher said: "It sets out the crisis that is engulfing the hospital. It's simply not good enough."

Irish Independent

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