Fianna Fáil’s Health Spokesperson, Stephen Donnelly TD has said that it is a scandal that 9,864 people aged 75 or older were left lying on trolleys in Emergency Departments for longer than 24 hours in the first eight months of 2018.
“These latest figures represent a serious indictment of Fine Gael’s management of the public hospital system in this country,” said Donnelly.
“We must bear in mind that by November 2nd last year, 9,206 Over 75s had spent longer than 24 hours on a trolley. Data for the first eight months of this year demonstrate a serious deterioration in how the HSE treats older patients when they present to Emergency Departments.
“2018 is already far worse than last year, and I really do fear for the coming winter. I fully expect the total number for this year to exceed 14,000 – a shocking statistic in itself but even worse when we consider that these are our parents, our aunts and uncles left lying, often in a very vulnerable state, on uncomfortable and unsuitable trolleys.
“Best practice, based on a 2012 HIQA report, is that total patient time spent in an emergency department should be six hours or less. The facts speak for themselves – the Government is failing so badly that their recent Service Plans set a target of less than 24 hours for older patients being spent in an emergency department.
“I am deeply worried and concerned for the public hospital system as we move towards winter proper.
“The Winter Crisis is now a 10 month of the year emergency. Minister Harris has been, and I don’t say this lightly, absolutely woeful and negligent in his preparations for, and attempts at dealing with this long term crisis.
“In September, I put forward common sense proposals to increase bed capacity over the winter and ease the overcrowding in our Emergency Departments. Our proposals including giving EDs priority access to diagnostic services, extending radiology and other diagnostic departments opening hours and enacting emergency escalation procedures far earlier than at present.
“Older people are feeling the brunt of Minister Harris’ and the Government’s failure to prepare for the never ending trolley crisis. It’s time the Government started to deliver,” concluded Donnelly.