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Saturday 18 November 2017

Patients endure longer trolley waits

Eilish O'Regan Health Correspondent

PATIENTS in need of a bed are now enduring longer delays on trolleys in several hospital emergency departments than they were a year ago.

The latest financial and performance report from the Health Service Executive (HSE) singles out hospitals in Mayo, Tallaght, Limerick, Cavan, Naas, Blanchardstown and Cork for their deteriorating A&E waits.

The HSE, which has reported it is going to break even financially this year, blames a lack of beds and patients who cannot be discharged from hospital for contributing to the problem.

It concedes that if more bed closures were imposed to save money it would have significant impact on overcrowding during the winter.

The report also shows that the health service was owed around €43.4m in unpaid bills from public and private patients in September.

Despite the better financial picture generally, hospitals were still running at a deficit of €102m, while community services were €72m short. These deficits, however, were being offset by savings in other areas.

The number employed in the health service at the end of September stood at 108,801, which was 834 below its ceiling of 109,634 for this year.

There were 165 junior doctor posts unfilled, despite recruitment efforts. Absenteeism stood at 4.76pc in August.

Irish Independent

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