New figures released to Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Older People, Mary Butler, have shown that 14,757 people aged over 75 had to wait over 24 hours in hospital Emergency Departments in the first three months of 2018.
"These figures are shocking and disgraceful. Incredibly, the total for January to March 2018 is actually 3,496 greater than for the whole of 2017 when 11,261 were caught in the same situation," said Deputy Butler.
"The HSE target is that all attendees aged 75 years and over attending Emergency Departments would be discharged or admitted within 24 hours of registration.
"This is a target that already sets the bar very low and it was badly missed in 2017. However, the worsening so far in 2018 is just appalling.
"Surely to force 14,757 over 75's to wait so long in an Emergency Department is a form of elder abuse. It can only be seen as a breach of basic human rights and dignity.
"On top of this, it must surely be compounding the health issues that brought them to an Emergency Department in the first place.
"My understanding is that any wait longer than six hours can have an adverse impact, so it is likely that one wait of 24 hours plus could well produce another one for the same patient in due course.
"We need to break this vicious cycle and the recommendations of the bed capacity review must be acted on as a matter of urgency," concluded Deputy Butler.
- Digital desk