A leading professor of emergency medicine at Cork University Hospital (CUH) has warned that overcrowding at the hospital's Emergency Department may never be resolved, writes Rob McNamara.
Professor Stephen Cusack, who is a consultant in emergency medicine at CUH, delivered his assessment after patients waiting to be treated at the Emergency Department were sent home due to overcrowding while others had to wait up to 10 hours for treatment in recent days.
He said the problem was ongoing for 25 years and he doesn't believe it will ever be solved unless taxes are increased to pay for a health system which is severely lacking in resources.
CUH has consistently topped the table in recent weeks for the number of patients left waiting on trolleys in hospitals across Ireland.
“It's not a problem that is going to go away. It's only going to go away if there is a lot of money spent and a lot of extra capacity brought into the system and that's probably not going to happen,” said Professor Cusack.
“It's not the Government that has to stump up the cash, it's the taxpayer and it's not either popular or possible in many respects to increase the tax take to pay for what's required, it seems.
Professor Cusack added: “Everything that people are trying to do, I support them in their efforts. We know that we are about 80 beds short and we know that we have an increasing population and an increasing number of elderly patients that have increasing requirements.”
A spokesperson for the South West Hospital Group, which is charged with the running of CUH, said last week that the hospital regretted delays and was “actively monitoring” overcrowding.
When asked what measures were being taken to deal with the overcrowding they ‘were too busy to respond’.
This article first appeared in the Evening Echo