Five Munster hospitals among 20 most over-crowded in Ireland, study shows

Stephen McMahon of the IPA said the public should be told why extra beds promised for hospitals are not alleviating the looming Covid-crisis.
Five Munster hospitals among 20 most over-crowded in Ireland, study shows

Patients at University Hospital Limerick were the most affected the IPA found with 412 nights on trolleys counted. Picture: Don Moloney

Five Munster hospitals were among the 20 most over-crowded to mid-October, analysis of trolley figures by the Irish Patient Association has found.

The analysis relies on daily trolley-counts collected and published by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) which were then compiled by the patients’ association into a ‘league table’.

The patient’s association (IPA) is expected to publish this on a regular basis during the winter and hopes to find the benefits for patients of Winter Planning by the health authorities in different parts of the country. 

During the week ending October 15, patients at University Hospital Limerick were the most affected the IPA found with 412 nights on trolleys counted.

This was followed by Cork University Hospital at 229, then three hospitals in the SAOLTA hospital group in Letterkenny, Galway, and Sligo.

Stephen McMahon of the IPA said it is important for patients to understand why there are delays to their treatment.

“The purpose of this league table is to generate focussed discussion on why some regions do better than others and seek a reconciliation of the causes of overcrowding with hard data at emergency departments, from HSE management and its board who are ultimately accountable,” Mr McMahon said on Sunday.

Referring to the INMO’s trolleywatch, he said: “we are thankful to them and their colleagues for their continued gathering of this information.” 

The analysis also shows three hospitals did not need to have any patients on trolleys while awaiting admission in that week.

Irish Patients Association spokesman, Stephen McMahon said the league table is to focus the conversation around regions performing at different strengths. Picture: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland.
Irish Patients Association spokesman, Stephen McMahon said the league table is to focus the conversation around regions performing at different strengths. Picture: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland.

Beaumont Hospital and Connolly Hospital in Dublin, and Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda are all in the RCSI Hospital Group.

The IPA has compiled these into a parallel honours table and hopes to see more hospitals on this list as waiting list initiatives take effect.

“A reconciliation of what RCSI is doing versus the above regions (in the list) is urgently required,” Mr McMahon said.

“Is it delayed capacity coming on stream, demand, and service not aligned, tighter management or mix of all?” 

Winter season and Covid-19 infections

The Emergency Department Task-force meets on Monday. 

Mr McMahon said a number of questions should be addressed to give patients better clarity on what the winter holds.

He said the public should be told why extra beds promised for hospitals are not alleviating the looming Covid-crisis.

Mr McMahon welcomed the launch of the Covid booster campaign for some vulnerable people but said other groups are still waiting to hear if they will require the shots.

“Why are vulnerable residents under 65 and staff at nursing homes not being immunized,” he said, urging that evidence for these decisions be shared quickly.

The IPA analysis showed while larger hospitals naturally dominate the table due to the sheer volume of patients attending, that problems for patients are brewing in smaller hospitals also.

In that week there were 105 patients on trolleys in University Hospital Kerry which at one point during the week had no available beds. There were also 45 patients on trolleys at Tipperary University Hospital and 80 at the Mercy University hospital in Cork city.

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