New information provided to Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Deputy Stephen Donnelly, has shown that between January and October 2018, 30,922 people experienced waits of more than 24 hours in an Emergency Department prior to hospital admission. 10,855 of those waiting were aged over 75.

Commenting on the figures Deputy Donnelly said, “This year has seen an ongoing crisis in our Emergency Departments with a record number of patients on trolleys, the 100,000 threshold was broken even before November was over.

“While it’s not surprising that so many have endured such long waits it’s still appalling and unacceptable. To put it in perspective the number of people enduring 24 hour waits would fill the Mater Hospital fifty times over. To make a bad situation worse, more than one in three were aged over 75.  This is a disgraceful situation and must be viewed as borderline elder abuse.

“There is a serious need to increase capacity in all our hospitals and it must be addressed as a matter of urgency. It’s not just extra hospital beds that are needed; we also need to see more step-down facilities and home care to reduce the number of delayed discharges. 172,377 bed days were lost during between January and October. If the trend continues for all of 2018, it will break 200,000. This is wasteful and inefficient and a horrendous situation for patients to be in.”