A major acute hospital that had the highest number of patients on trolleys yesterday in its emergency department has been described by nurses as being “dangerously overcrowded”.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation asked for Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, to be taken off call for an extended period because of high overcrowding levels.
There were 38 admitted patients on trolleys in the emergency department yesterday, according to the INMO’s Trolley and Ward Watch.
The INMO said overcrowding in Beaumont had continued to worsen, with a 26% increase in the numbers on trolleys in the first four months of this year, compared to 2014.
It said the situation was compounded by the closure of 33 beds in the last five weeks and the continued high level of delayed discharges — more than 90 patients whose acute care phase had ended.
INMO industrial relations officer Lorraine Monaghan said the situation was intolerable for patients and staff.
management needed to re-open 33 closed beds, gain access to additional community beds, and pull out all the stops to fill vacant nursing posts.
A spokesperson for Beaumont said it regretted the “difficult conditions” experienced by patients and staff at its emergency department that had been extremely busy in recent days.
The spokesperson said the situation had been made worse by the closure of a ward for essential refurbishment for transplant patients.
“All available beds have been opened and additional nursing home beds are expected to become available shortly. The situation is under continuous review.”
Meanwhile, the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine (IAEM) said it had “serious concerns” about continuing over-crowding in emergency departments.
It warned units cannot function safely or efficiently while acting as “warehouses” for admitted patients. Despite a myriad of investigations, reports, taskforces and repeated promises to solve the problem, crowding continued to worsen.
“This can only be interpreted as the continued tolerance of this unacceptable situation by senior HSE management,” the IAEM stated.
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