Sunday 19 November 2017

'Unprecedented': Dublin A&E 'without senior consultant' since early Friday evening

Tallaght Hospital
Tallaght Hospital
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The A&E department of Tallaght Hospital in Dublin has been without a senior consultant on duty since early Friday evening.

The overcrowded department has since been relying on junior doctors for medical cover.

Senior consultants are now claiming the department is unsafe .

The hospital stopped having senior consultants in its emergency department at 5pm on Friday evening.

Dr James Gray, Tallaght Hospital emergency consultant said the overcrowding made the department unsafe.

The hospital kept the emergency department open despite the lack of senior medical supervision.

Dr Gray told Independent.ie: "This is unprecedented. It would be like a plane taking off with junior pilots and no ground control to guide into safe airspace. Very dangerous.

"Does the HSE know of Tallaght situation ? Does HIQA know? Does the minister for health's office know?"

Tallaght A&E issued a statement to Independent.ie on Saturday.

"Tallaght Hospital wishes to clarify that its Emergency Department is continuing to operate as normal this weekend with contingent consultant cover arrangements in place," it said.

"At short notice the Hospital has been notified that one of it’s ED consultants has unilaterally withdrawn from providing on-call cover over this weekend. Tallaght Hospital regrets this course of action undertaken.

"There are currently 8 patients on trollies in Tallaght Hospital ED awaiting admission."

Earlier this week the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) Trolley/Ward Watch figures for the month of October and year to date confirmed that the level of overcrowding in A&E continues at record levels.

The latest figures confirm that in October there were 8,903 patients admitted for care for whom there was no in-patient bed.

- This represents a 15pc increase when compared to October 2016; and

- In the first 10 months of this year (January to October) there were 82,459 patients, admitted for care, with no in-patient bed available.

- This represents an 8pc increase, on the first 10 months of 2016, and a 96pcincrease in the first 10 months of 2007.

The figures also confirm that, in October, the levels of overcrowding in Dublin hospitals had increased when compared to October 2016. This follows a number of months when in Dublin levels of overcrowding had reduced.

However in hospitals outside of Dublin the situation continues to deteriorate significantly with record levels both in the month of October and in the 10 months of the year to date.

In the month of October the hospitals with the highest number patients, on trolleys, were:

  • University Hospital Limerick: 719
  • University Hospital Galway: 679
  • Cork University Hospital: 635
  • South Tipperary General Hospital: 546
  • St Luke’s Hospital Kilkenny: 495

However the figures also show very marked increases in other hospitals including:

  • Wexford General Hospital – from 55 in October 2016 to 241 in October 2017;
  • Letterkenny University Hospital – from 121 in October 2016 to 459 in October 2017.

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