Elderly patients forced to wait an average of 29 hours in CUH A&E last month 

'It is absolutely shocking, that elderly patients are waiting over 24 hours in emergency departments in Cork'
Elderly patients forced to wait an average of 29 hours in CUH A&E last month 

Cork University Maternity Hospital. HSE figures  show that for patients over 75, the average "patient experience time to admission" in April was 28.8 hours at CUH and 26.8 hours at the Mercy University Hospital (MUH) — the national average was 13.75 hours.

Elderly patients endured an average 29-hour wait in Cork University Hospital’s (CUH) emergency department last month — almost twice the national average —  new figures show.

The news emerged as the HSE confirmed some €94m in capital funding from the HSE for several major health care projects in Cork, including the delivery of new hospital extensions, more general and ICU beds, new facilities and labs at several sites, and the long-awaited delivery of a helipad at CUH.

The funding will also help deliver extensions at several community hospitals around the county, including specific works at Castletownbere, Clonakilty, Kinsale and Kanturk community hospitals which are required in certain areas to ensure Hiqa compliance.

Sinn Féin TD for Cork South Central, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, welcomed the capital investment but branded the wait time for over 75s as scandalous. He said massive investment in additional staff is also required.

“Doctors and nurses are doing their best they are just completely swamped. It’s not just about more space and buildings, we just don’t have enough staff in CUH — that’s a big part of the problem,” he said.

His comments follow the release of HSE figures which show that for patients over 75, the average "patient experience time to admission" in April was 28.8 hours at CUH and 26.8 hours at the Mercy University Hospital (MUH) — the national average was 13.75 hours.

'Absolutely shocking'

He called on the health minister to intervene with a specific support plan for the emergency departments in Cork.

“It is absolutely shocking, that elderly patients are waiting over 24 hours in emergency departments in Cork,” he said.

“These are some of the most vulnerable and elderly patients, potentially with mobility and other issues. To have waiting times like these are scandalous, and show yet again the clear need for a specific plan for the EDs in Cork.” 

Meanwhile, among the projects in Cork to benefit from the €94m in HSE capital funding are:

  •  €11m for projects at CUH, including the upgrade of its 15-bed ICU to 18 single isolation rooms, the construction of 12 new ICU beds in vacated space, which was previously radiation oncology space, the refurbishment of the existing ICU facility to provide six single isolation rooms, and €1.5m for the helipad project;
  •  €12m for a 60-bedroom extension to the existing 50-bed Heather House at St Mary’s Health Campus in Gurranabraher;
  • €12m for a replacement medical ward at Mallow General Hospital with 48 single bedrooms in two wards;
  • €12m to increase bed capacity and cover refurbishment costs at MUH;
  • €11m for an extension and refurb project at Kanturk Community Hospital to deliver 33 new beds;
  •  €3.78m to help fund the relocation of the ophthalmology out-patient department from CUH to the South Infirmary;
  •  €5.1m in funding for replacement rehab beds at the older persons services at St Finbarr’s hospital.
  • €920,000 towards the development of a 50 to 55 bed facility for older people at a former hotel in Blarney;
  •  and €200,000 for an ambulance base and HQ on the grounds of St Finbarr’s Hospital to serve the city and county.

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