Tuesday 20 March 2018

Number on trolleys jumps again as flu infections surge

Stock image
Stock image

Eilish O’Regan

THE number of patients on trolleys in hospital emergency departments rose again today as flu and other respiratory illnesses took their toll.

The HSE’s own figures show that 461 were on trolleys nationally this morning – up from 455 yesterday.

Some 203 patients who needed a bed were enduring delays for more than nine hours .

Separate figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation also reveal worsening levels of overcrowding with 536 on trolleys this morning, compared to  522 yesterday.

Cork University Hospital had the highest number on trolleys this morning but overcrowding in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin had eased even though thirty were still on trolleys.

The HSE said emergency departments are seeing increased attendances.

“ It is also noted that sites are reporting increased prevalence of patients presenting with respiratory / flu like symptoms with visitation rates by patients with flu-like illness increasing significantly during the first week of the year.”

A spokeswoman for Beaumont Hospital said  it already one of the busiest in Ireland, providing services to over 50,000 patients each year.

“The hospital acknowledges and regrets the difficult conditions experienced by patients and staff at its emergency department in recent days, which have been exacerbated by several factors including:

• A high number of attendances at the department

• A high number of these attendees requiring admission

• The temporary closure of three in-patient beds due to influenza, which impacts on patient flow through the hospital

She said that in response it implemented escalation procedures. Measures taken include:

• prioritising procedures that will allow for earlier discharges

• accessing additional step down beds where available

• working with both the RCSI hospital group and the HSE to manage the situation on an ongoing basis

• cancelling non-urgent procedures which had been scheduled for today.  Patients werenotified and appointments are being rescheduled.   

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News