2,351 patients left on trolleys

by Gazette Reporter
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Connolly Hospital has seen record numbers in overcrowding with 2,351 patients left lying on trolleys in A&E over a seven-month period.
Figures by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s trolley watch revealed the high number of patients left lying on trollies between March and September 2013 in A&E at Connolly Hospital.
According to the INMO, a further 1,445 patients were recorded to be on wards, having been moved from the emergency department on trolleys or beds to inappropriate places on the wards such as a corridor.
Dublin West TD Patrick Nulty [Ind] said this number is “at record levels” and “urgent and immediate action” is required to address overcrowding at Connolly.
“The notion that someone who is sick can be left on a trolley is deplorable. It is putting at risk the spread of infection and completely undermines the dignity and privacy of a person,” he said.
In a recent parliamentary question to the Minister for Health James Reilly, Deputy Nulty asked what action was being taken to “curb the overcrowding” at Connolly Hospital.
He said the hospital is consistently recording the second highest number of patients on trolleys in the country and asked what action will be taken to deal with “this serious overcrowding problem”.
In a written response to Deputy Nulty, Minister Reilly reverted the question to the HSE saying he asked the Health Service Executive to respond to Nulty “directly”.
According to Deputy Nulty, the “huge number” of posts that remain unfilled in the hospital and many patients not being discharged until the evening times “is further undermining operations within the hospital”.
“I am demanding a Dail debate on this issue to address what is now a crisis. Staff on the frontline are at breaking point because budgetary bottom lines, not patients, are driving decision-making within the hospital,” he said.
In response the HSE said: “Whilst Connolly Hospital has experienced an increase in the number of patients waiting on trolleys for admission, a review of data for November 2013 is indicating a gradual downward trend.
“The hospital remains committed to prioritising this issue and is pursuing a number of actions in this regard.
“In addition, there has been a 5% increase in emergency presentations this year versus last year, and this affected increased admissions. Additionally, the age of the patients has increased significantly and the triage (acuity data) presentations have increased (sicker and older patients). There are increased presentations from nursing homes (respiratory infections, etc) and elderly population who have become frailer.
A comprehensive performance improvement plan is under way in Connolly Hospital to target the on-going trolley waits in the Emergency Department.
The plan was launched in June 2013 and is multidisciplinary and involves all professional groups within the organisation. The plan is supported by the special delivery unit.

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