HSE figures show how many leave emergency departments over queues

HSE figures show how many leave emergency departments over queues

Almost 50,000 patients each year are walking out of our emergency departments due to frustrations over long waiting times.

They include people who may have serious conditions, according to HSE figures.

The figures reveal that in October 2015, 613 patients left Dublin's Mater Hospital before discharge and 375 left University Hospital Galway.

October also saw 303 patients leave University Hospital Limerick for the same reason, while hundreds also deserted the emergency department of Tallaght Hospital and St Vincent's Hospital.

Dr Mark Doyle, President of the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine and a consultant at Waterford University Hospital, says there are a few reasons patients might leave before receiving treatment.

He said: "It has been shown pretty widely that if people are getting what they perceive as good quality, timely care, they will stay for it.

"Now there can be other pressures, there's no doubt that people do attend without having seen their GP, for instance, and it can be opportunistic."

He says at 4%, our walkout rate is still considered safe by international standards.

Dr Doyle said: "Internationally, and certainly our own acute medicine programme would suggest, that under 5% leaving without treatment wouldn't be considered particularly alarming.

"It's when the figure goes over 5% that departments and the system needs to look at its processes to decide if there is something wrong."


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