'Serious deficiencies in emergency cover' as over a third of departments don't have 24/7 consultants
It has been revealed that 10 of Ireland's 29 emergency departments do not have 24/7 emergency consultant cover.
These figures were obtained by Fianna Fáil's health spokesperson Billy Kelleher through a parliamentary question.
Deputy Kelleher said he is "extremely worried" by the figures released.
He said: "I am extremely worried by this new revelation. These figures confirm serious deficiencies in emergency cover in our hospitals."
"In fact a shocking 10 out of 29 emergency departments nationwide do not have a named consultant in Emergency Medicine available and clinically accountable on a 24/7 basis."
The 10 hospitals that lack this facility are:
- Mercy University Hospital Cork
- Kerry General Hospital
- Midland Regional, Mullingar
- Midland Regional, Portlaoise
- Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan
- Portiuncula Hospital
- South Tipperary General Hospital
- St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny
- Wexford General Hospital
- Mayo General
Fergal Hickey, who is a communications officer with the Irish Association of Emergency Medicine and a consultant in emergency medicine in Sligo, told Newstalk Breakfast that we may need to review the amount of emergency departments currently in use.
He said: "What we have is a legacy issue - so we have 29 emergency department for a population of 4.7 million, which is far too many, many of those departments really don't meet the criteria for what would be described as an emergency department in 2016 - and one of the difficulties some of them have is that they don't have the staffing resource which is required."
"We need to face up to the fact that we have too many emergency departments, so we need to reduce those numbers so they can be staffed at the appropriate level."