24 hours in A&E is the harsh reality for hundreds of elderly people in Laois and Offaly

Justin Kelly & Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly & Conor Ganly

sinn Féin 24 hours in A&E trolley portlaoise tullamore

TD slams Tullamore and Portlaoise hospital waiting times

The 24 hours in A&E fly-on-the-wall documentary attracts millions of TV viewers but it is a harsh reality for hundreds of senior citizens in Laois and Offaly who have been forced to wait on hospital trollies for more than more day.

New figures also reveal a big difference in the number of elderly people left waiting in Portlaoise and Tullamore hospitals.

Official data released for all of 2018 to Sinn Féin by the HSE reveal details about how long patients aged 75 and had to wait for a bed in Emergency Departments (ED/A&E). The figures cover men and women who had to wait more than 24 hours for care last year.

A total of 581 were forced to wait in excess of this time in the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore while 99 people were left waiting at the Midland Portlaoise Hospital Portlaoise.

Many Laois patients are referred to Tullamore for treatment. 

The party's Laois TD Brian Stanley TD responded to the figures. 

“Older patients are often among the most vulnerable people in our hospitals due to their age and the additional medical needs that can sometimes accompany ageing, and the numbers across Offaly and Laois show a disregard for their care. These patients need to be treated urgently to prevent escalation of injury and ensure safe and swift treatment.

“It is very worrying that 14,041 patients across the State over 75 years old were not seen within the HSE 24-hour target timeframe last year - an increase of 2,821 older patients than in 2017. Portlaoise Hospital saw a figure of 99 patients over 75 waiting in ED's over 24 hours and Tullamore saw the incredible figure of 581 last year.

“The staff in our hospitals still do an amazing job and they are doing more with less resources. They are treating more patients even though there is a recruitment and retention crisis across all areas of the health service.

“All the while patients and staff are being failed by the Minister and by this government," Deputy Stanley added.

He said the solution is more capacity, more staff, more beds and the implementation of Sláintecare.