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Tallaght under fire in trolley ban row

TALLAGHT Hospital has been slammed for claiming that patients are no longer left on trolleys in corridors near the emergency department, despite a Herald investigation that uncovered otherwise.

Despite an official ban coming into effect last week, patients were pictured lying on trolleys in an area outside the main treatment area on Wednesday.

The HSE said the patients were in "functioning clinical treatment areas".

Figures released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) confirmed five patients were placed on trolleys yesterday morning.

INMO spokesman Derek Reilly said: "The figures for hospitals nationwide are still outstanding, but we expect things to get a lot worse.

"We'll be having a meeting with [Tallaght] hospital staff on Tuesday and we intend to bring up the figures recorded, which showed trolleys were still being placed in emergency department areas."

Mr Reilly said the Health and Safety Authority (HIQA) should carry out mandatory inspections on hospitals nationwide.

HIQA has stated that its recent unannounced inspection at Tallaght Hospital was the "first serious attempt" to better the lives of patients.

"Now that Tallaght has been given this directive, other hospitals have now no alternative but to change their practices. It can't be enforced in Tallaght and not everywhere else, particularly because the clear evidence is that patients are dying because of this practice," a spokesperson said.

Despite the Herald's observations at the hospital and the INMO statistics, the HSE has insisted that it is compliant with HIQA regulations.

A spokesperson said patients at Tallaght Hospital are accessed in a "clinical area" in the emergency department prior to being moved up to a ward.

"Patients in all emergency departments in every hospital are treated on trolleys -- no emergency department in any hospital in the country has beds in their department," the spokesperson said.