Trolley crisis reaches all time high at UHK

Cllr Toireasa Ferris (SF)
Cllr Toireasa Ferris (SF)

Simon Brouder

The bed crisis continues at University Hospital Kerry where the number of patients on trolleys has reached an all time record.

On Tuesday figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation's Trolley Watch showed that there were 36 patients on trolleys at the UHK Emergency Department.

That's the highest daily figure ever recorded at Kerry;s main hospital since the INMO first launched its 'Trolley Watch' service in 2004. Tuesday's figure is one higher  than the previous record of 35 patients on trolleys, recorded at UHK in February 2018.

Since 'Trolley Watch' was launched 15 years ago every morning at 8am, INMO members count how many patients are waiting for a bed in the hospital. These patients are often being treated on trolleys in corridors, but they may also be on chairs, in waiting rooms, or simply wherever there's space.

2018 was the worst year ever for overcrowding at UHK according to the INMO figures which show 3,396 patients spent time on trolleys at the hospital last year. That was ten times higher than the figure for 2009.

Sinn Fein Councillor Toireasa Ferris is calling on HIQA to investigate conditions at UHK's Emergency Department. 

"I have been contacted by staff and families of patients at University Hospital Kerry. All have told me of the extremely unbearable conditions occurring at the Emergency Department at present," said Cllr Ferris. 

"Patients are on trollies in the corridors leading up to the kitchens and medical assessment unit and is compromising to both patients and staff."

"HIQA need to investigate these serious health and safety issues immediately." The HSE says it is making every effort to deal with delays in all emergency departments.