Midland hospitals badly hit by trolley crisis as record is broken

Conor Ganly

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Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

trolley Portlaoise hospital hse a&e laois

Trolley spike in midland hosptials.

Portlaoise, Tullamore, Mullingar, Kilkenny, Naas hospitals all badly hit by trolley crisis

More than 100 patients had to be accommodated on hospital trollies in Portlaoise and two other midlands hospitals today while there were more than 70 trollies were deployed at Kilkenny and Naas hospitals as the crisis hit a new low.

Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) figures for Wednesday, January 3 show that in total, 104 trollies had to be deployed in wards and Emergency Departments because not enough beds were available in the Laois, Offaly and Westmeath hospitals.

The INMO said Midland Hospitals said all hospitals were very overcrowded, particularly Mullingar and Tullamore with figures of 38 and 42 respectively. There were 24 patients waiting on trollies in the Emergency Department (ED/A&E) of the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise this morning.

The three hospitals are no longer linked in the same hospital group. Portlaoise and Tullamore are in the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group (DMHG). 

The INMO said Dublin hospitals, particularly St. James' and Tallaght hospitals, suffered a big increase overnight with a total of 28 and 23 respectively. Pressure eased somewhat at the other DMHG hospital - Naas - where 20 trollies were needed.

In total 133 patients were forced to wait on trollies at the five DMHG hospitals. The HSE wants Tallaght, Tullamore, Naas and St James' to pick up most of the slack under a proposal that would see Portlaoise downgraded.

Another hospital that the HSE would hope patients would go to instead of Portlaoise is St Luke’s Hospital Kilkenny. Its trolley total hit 54 making it the worst hit of all Irish hospitals on Wednesday. It had 57 trollies on Tuesday.

University Hospital Limerick used 53 trollies making it the second worst hit. Two hospitals in its catchment area - Nenagh and Ennis - have been downgraded in recent years.

CRISIS PROVES PORTLAOISE NEEDS UPGRADE NOT DOWNGRADE - SAYS TD

Nationally there were a record 677 patients on trollies - 511 in EDs and 166 on wards.

Nurses have sought an emergency meeting of the ED Taskforce and is awaiting confirmation from the HSE that same will take place today or tomorrow. In the meantime, the INMO is receiving a number of distressed calls from members who describe intolerable working conditions and inhumane conditions for patients. 

 Speaking today INMO General Secretary, Phil Ni Sheaghdha, said:

 “As predicted the January figures are unacceptably high.  We are very concerned at the level of planning to avoid the situation that has been engaged in some locations and we have sought to meet with the HSE as a matter of urgency. 

"We are awaiting their confirmation that this meeting will take place today, with a view to examining alternative arrangements for hospitals that are simply too overcrowded to continue to accept admissions. It is clear that a national emergency is now in place and certain locations simply cannot cope.

"These record numbers are unacceptable.  It is intolerable for both patients and staff endeavouring to provide the best care possible to them,” she said.

 Ms Ni Sheaghdha said there is ample evidence which confirms that high ED occupancy is associated with increased in-hospital mortality following admission from overcrowded EDs. She said evidence also confirms that patients, admitted through overcrowded Emergency Departments have longer hospital stays.

"An increase in a nurse’s workload, by one patient, increases the likelihood of an inpatient dying within 30 days of admission by 7%.  High levels of burnout have been reported amongst nurses working in overcrowded environments.” she said.

18,363 trollies Dublin Midlands Hospital Group IN 2017