CUH ‘struggling’ as 54 patients on trolleys

Up to 54 people were on trolleys at Cork’s biggest hospital yesterday as management admitted the hospital was struggling to manage the large numbers seeking admission.

In total, 493 people were on trolleys around the country, according to figures compiled by the Irish Nurses and Midwives organisation. However, the trolley crisis was at its worst at Cork University Hospital with 54 people on trolleys.

Beaumont in Dublin had 38 people on trolleys, University Hospital Limerick had 34, and Letterkenny had 31.

The HSE has said it is committed to reducing hospital over-crowding through its winter initiative plan but Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher said Simon Harris has become the third Fine Gael health minister in a row to “fail to deal with the overcrowding crises in our emergency departments”.

He described the figures at CUH as “staggering”.

“This just isn’t acceptable. I know many of the doctors, nurses and management in Cork University Hospital.

“They are doing their level best to deal with the situation but the reality is that not enough beds are being made available for acute patients, and not enough home care packages are being provided to elderly patients to enable them be discharged from hospital, and back into their homes.”

CUH CEO, Tony McNamara told RTÉ News 240 patients had presented at the emergency department in the hospital on Monday, “the highest ever recorded”.

Of this, 80 had to be admitted to the hospital and “clearly this is an issue,” for capacity at the ED, he said.

He described the numbers requiring admission as equal to the number of patients in a “small hospital”. CUH did not respond to queries from this newspaper asking if planned operations would be cancelled at the hospital because of the overcrowding at the emergency department.

At Leaders Questions in the Dáil yesterday, Enda Kenny said the numbers on trolleys in hospitals was “unacceptable”.

The INMO said longstanding capacity and recruitment issues remain at the country’s emergency departments, and that sufficient money has not been set aside to discharge elderly patients to the community.

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