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Patients still on trolleys as Tallaght ignores ban

SERIOUSLY ill patients are still being placed on trolleys at Tallaght Hospital's Emergency Department - despite a ban on the practice being introduced this week.

The Health and Quality Authority (HIQA) carried out an unannounced inspection on Wednesday.

And it found that the practice of placing patients on trolleys "may have the potential to pose serious risks to the health and welfare of persons receiving care there".

However, despite the ban coming into effect yesterday, patients told how they endured 14-hour waits on trolleys before a room was made available last night.

Elizabeth Keating (58), from Killinarden, Tallaght, said she was forced to sleep on a trolley in a busy corridor despite her poor health.

"I've been on the trolley at least 10 hours so far. I couldn't get any sleep because of all the noise and people walking back and forth.

"My health is very bad, and I'm suffering with terrible gallstones. I just can't get any rest," she said.

Jason Whelan (38), from Tallaght, said he had to wait in the corridor for nine hours, after a serious fall from a ladder.

"I've been on a trolley all day. I fell 26 feet off a ladder and fractured my two ankles and shattered one of my heels.

"The hospital staff told me that I was only allowed one visitor at a time because the place is so overcrowded.

"My wife had to leave the kids outside to come in and see me before the kids could come in one by one."

Jason said he was "extremely uncomfortable" despite staff doing everything they could to help him.

"I couldn't get any rest at all. There was always someone talking or something beeping," he said.


Mr Whelan was later placed in a ward after waiting nine hours until a bed became available.

Francis Keane (42), from Ballyfermot, told how he expected to remain on a hospital trolley overnight.

"I'm sure I'll be here for the entire night, but I don't imagine I'll be getting any sleep as long as I'm in a corridor," he said.

Nurses at the hospital were frequently overheard telling staff members to place hospital machinery out of the way because the corridor was becoming "congested".

The most recent HIQA inspection found that one patient, with tuberculosis, endured 72 hours in a clinical room that was exposed to a busy corridor.

Following the unannounced inspection, HIQA informed officials at Tallaght Hospital that no patient was to be placed on a trolley from September 1 as part of a statutory inquiry into patient safety.

The HSE was unable to comment early today.