Figures provided to Fianna Fáil Health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly this week reveal that 7,164 people over the age of 75 were forced wait more than 24 hours in Emergency Departments across the country. The figures cover the period between January and May this year.

“The first five months of this year saw some of the worst ever overcrowding in our hospitals. New daily records were set and by the end of the May overcrowding as measured by the INMO was 17% ahead of the same period in 2017”, said Deputy Donnelly.

“With that background it will come as no surprise that so many over 75’s have had to spend over a day waiting in our EDs. However, the numbers themselves are truly shocking – this number of patients could fill the Mater Hospital 12 times over.  This is a disgraceful situation and must be viewed as borderline elder abuse.

“It’s also yet another target being missed by the HSE as the service plan for 2018 requires that no patient over 75 should be waiting more than 24 hours in an Emergency Department.

“In his response to my question the Minister for Health said that ‘over 89.4% of patients over 75s presenting in EDs nationally met this target’ as if this was a positive achievement. The fact is that what really is a ludicrously low bar has been missed yet again.  It’s simply shameful that old and vulnerable people should have to put up with such conditions.”