Friday 20 April 2018

Winter vomiting virus closes 60 hospital beds

Emergency consultant Fergal Hickey Photo: James Connolly
Emergency consultant Fergal Hickey Photo: James Connolly
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Outbreaks of the winter vomiting virus have led to the closure of 60 beds in various hospitals - pushing up the numbers of patients waiting on trolleys in emergency departments.

The worst-hit hospitals are Sligo, Tallaght, Naas, Beaumont and Waterford, said the HSE.

Some 180 patients in hopitals across the country were still waiting more than nine hours for a bed yesterday afternoon.

Emergency consultant Fergal Hickey earlier warned that overcrowding was deteriorating again as the trolley crisis suffered from the lack of political focus due to the failure to put a government in place.

The HSE said there has also been a rise in the numbers of "delayed discharges" - patients who no longer need hospital care but are waiting for transfer home or to a nursing home.

The HSE insisted the number of patients presenting to emergency departments continues to be at a higher level than in 2015, with a 7.5pc overall increase in to date this year.

"While the incidence of flu-like illness had been decreasing, the most recent figures available at the end of March show a slight increase again with hospitals still reporting cases of patients requiring hospital admission and isolation," said a spokesperson.

Some 242 of the 301 additional new beds promised this year are now open.

Irish Independent

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