31 surgeries cancelled as result of emergency department overcrowding

Thirty-one non-urgent surgeries were cancelled in two hospitals yesterday as a direct result of emergency department overcrowding

Both Cork University Hospital (CUH) and the Mercy University Hospital (MUH), also in Cork, had asked people to attend their respective EDs “only as a last resort” on Tuesday due to overcrowding.

CUH had said almost 700 patients had attended its ED between last Friday and Monday of this week, with 236 admissions.

Both hospitals said they had been forced to cancel non-urgent surgeries as a result.

CUH confirmed that, just yesterday, 25 surgical procedures had to be cancelled although it said normal elective surgical activity would resume today.

In a statement, it said: “Cork University Hospital has been exceptionally busy in recent weeks, in particular the period in the last five days with 300 emergency admissions through the department.

“Due to this increased level of activity and subsequent admissions, it is regrettable that some patients will experience a delay and 25 elective procedures on Wednesday 31 August were postponed.

“The hospital executive and clinical director continue to monitor the situation closely, and bi-directional flow across the hospitals is being maximised.”

Both Cork hospitals were among those with the highest number of people said to be waiting on trolleys, according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation daily trolley watch count.

While Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda had the highest number of people waiting, the figure in CUH was comparable, with 25, and the number of people waiting on trolleys in the MUH as provided by the INMO yesterday was 24 — up from seven the previous day, when CUH also had 27 people on trolleys and a further six in wards awaiting a bed.

However, writing on his blog just last week, CUH chief executive Tony McNamara said the INMO’s trolley watch mechanism was flawed and simplistic. “It is clearly in the interest of some stakeholders to use this data opportunistically to criticise the minister, the HSE and individual hospitals in support of increased resource allocation,” he said.

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