Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health, Stephen Donnelly, has said the Patient Experience Survey for 2019, published on the same morning that Ireland recorded its highest ever trolley figure for a single hospital, paints a damning picture of what patients are facing in hospitals around the country.

Deputy Donnelly was commenting as the HSE published its Patient Experience Survey for 2019 on the same day that the INMO trolley watch recorded its highest ever figure in an Irish hospital in a single day. There are 85 people currently on a trolley in University Hospital Limerick.

Deputy Donnelly said, “It’s important to acknowledge the work of the staff across our hospitals who are the sole reason for the positive experiences people reported.

“Over 80% of people who responded to the survey trusted the staff and said they were treated with dignity and respect. This is down to the excellent staff who are working under immense pressure. They too are being failed by a system that just isn’t working.

“However, only 2,347 people (30%) of the 7,927 who responded to this question reported waiting less than six hours in the emergency department before being admitted to a ward. The HSE recommends that the time spent in the emergency department should be less than six hours.

“The report says that the large majority, that is 5,580 people (70%), said that they waited more than six hours before being admitted. Of those, 331 people (4%) reported waiting 48 hours or more before they were admitted to a ward. That’s 331 people who sat on chairs or in beds on corridors for more than two days – that is a shameful situation.

“While those figures alone are shocking, I don’t believe that surveying just under 8,000 people is a true reflection of the actual crisis in the health service.

“We know that the total number of people on a trolley or chair in an Irish hospital has surpassed 100,000 for 2019. At least 1,000 of these were children. 13,466 people aged over 75 have spent more than 24 hours on a trolley. Timely access to healthcare just isn’t a reality in Ireland,” he concluded.