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Over 11,000 elderly patients waited over 24 hours in Emergency Departments in 2017 - Louise O'Reilly TD

7 February, 2018 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly has voiced her concern that over 11,000 patients over the age of 75 were left waiting over 24 hours to be seen in Emergency Departments in 2017. 

Teachta O’Reilly said;

“An often less spoken about strand of the Emergency Department crisis and the trolley crisis is the impact it has on the elderly people who use our acute hospitals.

“These patients are often among the most vulnerable people due to their age and the additional medical needs that can sometimes accompany aging. Their being treated urgently prevents escalation of injury and ensures safety and swift treatment. 

“Experts say that patients on trolleys can contribute to around 300/350 fatalities annually.

“Therefore, it is very worrying that the HSE has confirmed to me in response to a question submitted in anticipation of their evidence at the Oireachtas Health Committee this morning that 11,261 patients over 75 year old patients were not seen within 24 hours.

“It is unacceptable that anyone is left waiting on a trolley for over 24 hours, but it is borderline criminal that elderly people are.

“The HSE has a 24-hour target for seeing those over the age of 75, this target in and of itself is far too low and completely lacks ambition. That such a low target has been missed on 11,261 separate occasions is serious case for concern. 

“Mixed into this crisis is the pressure that frontline staff are under to meet these targets and provide a world class level of care while they are understaffed and overworked. The staff in our health service are also victims of the inability of this Government to address the causes of the trolley crisis.

“We need more ambition in meeting targets for treating elderly patients from the HSE and the Minister for Health. If this situation is not rectified then lives will be put at risk resulting in fatalities. 

“Furthermore, we need to see the immediate movement on the implementation of the recommendations of the bed capacity review and the Slaintecare report."

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