It seemed that patients who need to be admitted to the emergency departments of hospitals should wait a certain amount of time before they can get the medical treatment they require. According to recent reports, due to overcrowding and the lack of attending medical personnel, there are 563 patients waiting for admission to emergency departments of hospitals in the country. The figure is said to be the highest in years.
Currently, there were 50 patients on trolley in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda, 41 in St Vincent’s University Hospital, 39 in St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny, and 34 in Mayo General Hospital. Members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) have already voiced out their concerns and urged the Department of Health and the HSE to address the problem.
According to INMO, one way to solve overcrowding in hospitals and the apparent lack of qualified nurses and medical personnel is for the Health Department and the HSE to plan and organise recruitment drives for nurses in the UK and Australia. “Radical action is now required, which must not be limited by resources as we must end this misery for vulnerable sick patients,” said Liam Doran, secretary general of INMO.
Doran also pointed out that if no immediate action is taken, the situation could get worse. He said that there could be over 600 patients waiting on trolleys by next week if the HSE and the Department of Health failed to address the problem as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the HSE has apologised to the families of patients for “any distress caused by the delays experienced in EDs.” According to the body, the situation is likely to continue in the coming weeks as the seasonal surge in demand continues. However, it assured everyone that it is currently working on the problem and that Minister Varadkar has already convened and attended the meeting of the Emergency Taskforce.
“This taskforce brings together representatives from unions (including the INMO and IMO), clinicians, and HSE representatives in order to develop practical responses to the increasing challenges facing our publicly-funded hospitals,” the HSE said in a statement.
It added that a number of plans to deal with overcrowding in hospitals are already in place. These plans include opening additional areas, curtailing non-emergency surgery, providing additional diagnostics, and strengthening discharge planning. Some €25 million has also been set aside for delayed discharge patients this year.