Seven A&E units ‘still unfit’ a year after damning report

SEVEN A&E departments remain unfit for their purpose one year after an official report exposed unacceptable conditions in the critical units, doctors claimed yesterday.

In addition, trolley waiting times are now worse than ever despite the Health Service Executive (HSE) investigation urging a “zero tolerance” approach to bed shortages, doctors insist.

The Irish Association for Emergency Medicine (IAEM), which represents A&E consultants, said none of the recommendations of last year’s Emergency Department Task Force Report have been implemented.

The report, published by the HSE last June, found that seven A&E departments — at the Mater and Beaumont hospitals in Dublin, the Mercy in Cork, as well as emergency departments in Drogheda, Letterkenny, Cavan and Wexford — were unfit for their purpose.

The number represented more than a third of the 18 hospitals investigated by the Government-established task force, made up of HSE bosses, clinicians, consultants and nursing managers.

James Binchy, consultant at University Hospital Galway and secretary of the IAEM, said calls in the report for a six-hour maximum wait from time of arrival at A&E to admission have also yet to be enforced.

“None of the recommendations have been implemented,” he said.

“One year on, emergency department overcrowding with in-patient boarders or patients on trolleys is worse than it’s ever been.

“In the first quarter of this year most departments had greater numbers than they had last year. The HSE has failed to accept that it’s still a big problem.”

The HSE issued a statement last night, saying it remains committed to reducing waiting times and numbers within A&E departments, as well as delivering significant infrastructural developments.

It claimed there had been a substantial improvement in the number of people waiting for treatment in A&Es during the past three years.


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