The revelation that an elderly man with cancer was forced to spend five days on a hospital trolley in Drogheda is quite simply a scandal and absolutely unacceptable, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher.
This follows the news that overcrowding in Emergency Departments increased by 40% in the year to August. Deputy Kelleher has said it’s ‘alarming’ that we are experiencing such events long before the usual winter pressure points.
“Even during what should have been quieter summer months in our hospitals, our emergency departments were in chaos. It is extremely worrying that we have seen a 40% increase in overcrowding in the space of just one year. Now we are heading into the winter months, things will only go from bad to worse unless decisive action is taken by the Health Minister and the HSE,” the Fianna Fáil Spokesperson said.
“It is essential now that our Emergency Departments are made ‘winter ready’. I am calling for an immediate enforcement of a 6 hour target for the one million patients attending emergency departments every year, with an absolute ban on any patient staying over 6 hours in an ED. In the UK there is a target of 90% to be accommodated within 4 hours. Hospitals must be incentivised to reach such targets.
“Unsafe overcrowding continues because it is tolerated and accepted as something normal. It has been estimated that 350 patients a year die as a consequence. The failure of the government to honour its promise to end overcrowding continues to threaten the lives of vulnerable and elderly patients attending Irish Emergency Departments.”