Over 75s at risk from hospital waiting times

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Appeal to 'Help the Elderly' in our communities

430 patients over 75 years were forced to wait over 24 hours in Portlaoise and Tullamore Hospitals during the first six months of 2019.

“The health of older patients is being put at risk,” said Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley. “Figures released to Sinn Fein by the HSE showed 63 patients over 75 years of age had to wait over 24 hours for care in Portlaoise Hospital, while a staggering 367 waited in Tullamore Hospital in the first six months of this year.”

Deputy Stanley said that figures show that in the first six months of this year 7,700 patients over the age of 75 had to wait for treatment in Emergency Departments around the country.

“The total number of patients between Portlaoise and Tullamore hospitals add up to 430. If this pattern was to continue for the remainder of 2019, it would mean a total of 860 people over 75 years would be waiting more than 24 hours in our 2 hospitals. These figures are proving to be even worse than those for 2018,” he said.

The Laois TD said that older patients are among the most vulnerable in the health system as they have additional medical needs that can sometimes accompany aging. Timely treatment may prevent escalation of injury and sickness and ensure safe and swift recovery.

“It is clear the staff in our hospitals are under considerable pressure and they are doing more work with less resources, they are treating more patients than ever even though there is a retention and recruitment crisis across all areas of the health service.

“The solution is more staff, more capacity, and the implementation of ‘Slaintecare’, which means the creation of a public health system. However, this Government is cutting back on capital projects across the State due to the children’s hospital overspend. The result of this is that there has been little progress on bringing about the major reform that is needed in the health services,” concluded Deputy Stanley.