The HSE has announced the opening of dozens of extra hospital beds to tackle the ongoing trolley crisis following a meeting with Minister for Health Simon Harris.However Sligo University Hospital, which has seen 68 patients waiting on trolleys over the last three days, has been overlooked in the new plan.
The HSE said 60 additional beds will be opened immediately for the next four weeks in 10 hospitals.
Again, as with the cancellation of vital cancer services, no hospital north of a Dublin - Galway line is to receive any assistance to tackle the current trolley crisis.
Yesterday, Thursday, there were 46 patients waiting for beds in the wards in Letterkenny University Hospital. The Emergency Department National Escalation Policy has been applied with management opening three escalation areas to house some of these patients, while others are being nursed in treatment rooms or on ward corridors.
The extra beds are in the following hospitals: Galway, Clonmel, Wexford, St Vincent’s, St James’s, Tallaght, Drogheda, Beaumont, the Mater and Connolly. They will admit “patients, who would otherwise remain in an acute bed, while their nursing home application is being completed and processed.”
The number of hospital patients on trolleys fell slightly on Thursday with a total of 578 on trolleys, according to the latest figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO). There was a record number of 612 patients on trolleys on Tuesday.
A Sligo medical consultant has already warned that the trolley crisis is "only going to worsen".Dr
Fergal Hickey of Sligo University Hospital said the influenza season
has yet to reach its peak and disregarded the Health Minister’s comments
that the trolley crisis was “unpredictable”.
“I don’t accept unpredictability as a reason [for the number of patients
on trolleys], perhaps things happened earlier than planned this year
but that is not an excuse.See link below
The HSE said the measures were designed to address the increased number of patients in emergency departments as well as a spike in flu which was exacerbating a challenging situation in hospitals.
A number of private hospitals will also be asked to assist ease the overcrowding.
It has also committed to opening an extra 63 beds in hospitals as follows: 28 beds in Galway University Hospital, 15 beds in the Mater, eight beds in Kilkenny and 12 beds in Tullamore. It did not say exactly when these beds would open but said a discharge lounge would be opened in Waterford in the coming weeks. It will also introduce enhanced discharge processes between hospitals.
Because of staff shortages over 150 beds remain closed across the country.
Link: Sligo Today 5/1/2016