Trolley figures could hit 1,000 this winter

The number of patients left waiting on hospital trolleys could hit the 1,000 mark this winter, it has been claimed.

According to Dr Fergal Hickey, a consultant in emergency medicine at Sligo General Hospital, the Irish health service has a major problem with capacity.

He made his comments at a special conference on healthcare organised by the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), during a discussion on access to acute healthcare services.

"This is a problem with capacity and system failures that are felt in Emergency Departments (EDs)...much like people in property say it's ‘location, location, location', this is capacity, capacity, capacity," he said.

He insisted that if things do not change, trolley numbers could reach an unprecedented 1,000 this winter.

This was backed up by IMO president, Dr Peadar Gilligan, who emphasised that until the number of beds are increased in line with the capacity review report, hospitals will continue to face overcrowding, which usually manifests in EDs.

"The current system is operating at or above capacity - acute bed occupancy, trolley waits and waiting lists point to an acute service under extreme pressure," he noted.

However, while Dr Gilligan acknowledged that there is a direct link between the stripping out of resources and problems in the health service, he insisted ‘it is not a black hole, nor is it Angola'.

"The depiction of the health service in this way is unhelpful as it suggests a hopeless scenario. The reality is that a key success of the health services in Ireland is that every day we give hope to people and we deliver on that hope. We are doing many wonderful things in healthcare, but far too often we are not supported by the appropriate resources," he said.

The Getting Healthcare in Ireland conference took place in Croke Park, Dublin, at the weekend.

 

[Posted: Mon 17/09/2018]

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