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789 patients on trolleys in Saolta Group Hospitals as overcrowding exposes Government failure to invest in healthcare for the West/North-West – David Cullinane TD

27 October, 2021 - by David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has expressed serious concern at the lack of available acute inpatient beds in Saolta Hospital Group Hospitals, with almost 800 patients having spent days on trolleys last week.

He said that, according to INMO Trolley Watch data collated and analysed by the Irish Patients Association, Saolta Hospital Group has been the worst performing Hospital Group for trolley numbers which lays bare a failure by Government to invest in healthcare for West, Mid-West, and North-West of Ireland.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“Last week, Saolta Hospital Group Emergency Departments were the worst performing EDs in the state in terms of overcrowding.

“That is not a reflection on the trojan work of staff, but a failure of Government to address acute capacity deficiencies in these hospitals.

“There were almost 800 patients on trolleys in their hospitals last week according to INMO Trolley Watch data which was analysed by the Irish Patients Association.

“Letterkenny, Galway, and Limerick Hospitals are consistently among the worst affected by Emergency Department overcrowding because the investments have not been made in bed capacity or community services for the regions.

“Cork University Hospital is also among the worst performers, placing in the top 5 for the last number of weeks.

“Only Beaumont and Connolly Hospitals managed without patients on trolleys for the last month which shows the desperate state of our hospitals due to underinvestment.

“This lack of beds is a serious concern for a number of reasons. Firstly, it means that patients presenting at Emergency Departments are not getting treated properly for their injuries.

“Secondly, it means that scheduled care – such as vital surgeries – are being cancelled to free up beds for emergency care.

“Thirdly, with the worrying situation of Covid-19 in our hospitals, this is putting more pressure on ICU capacity and exposing more patients and staff to Covid outbreaks due to unsafe working conditions in hospitals.

“This lays bare the absolute failure of Government to invest in the regions to tackle healthcare inequality in the last decade – and, indeed, they did not provide for one additional inpatient acute bed in Budget 2022 meaning they do not intend to solve this problem.

“This has been ongoing for years and underlines how this Government have left the West in particular, but the regions more generally, behind.”

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