‘Behind every number is a patient who needed timely care’
MORE than 1,650 people have waited longer than 24 hours in Tallaght University Hospital’s emergency department since January, according to new figures released.
Since January, the local hospital has experienced a 13 per cent increase in the number of people presenting to its emergency department, with 1,078 patients recorded on trolleys in the first three months of the year.
In March alone, the number of patients on trolleys was up 161 per cent when compared with the same period in 2021.
In recent weeks, the hospital has appealed to the community to “consider all care options” before attending its emergency department (ED) as staff prioritise those who require urgent or emergency care.
This week, Sinn Fein reported that 1,650 people have waited longer than 24 hours in the emergency department of TUH since the start of the year.
Commenting on the figures obtained by his party, local TD Sean Crowe said: “Behind every number is a patient who needed timely care and was left to wait for far too long.
“I was contacted this week by a family member of a cancer patient in their 80s who had been stuck on a trolley for over 36 hours at that point.
“Let me be clear, the staff at TUH are doing an incredible job, working under pressure to do their very best to serve our community, but they are being let down by a lack of funding, planning and leadership by the government.
“These long delays also impact the ambulance service with vitally needed ambulances left sitting outside the hospital as they cannot deliver patients into care.”
According to Deputy Crowe, he has also written to TUH management that “reforms be put in place” including a greater interlink with a patient’s GP and carers being able to accompany patients.
When contacted by The Echo, a TUH spokesperson said that in March, the number of patients on trolleys was up 161 per cent when compared with the same period last year.
The number of people presenting to the ED is also up 13 per cent for the first three months of the year, with the number of patients over 75 being admitted up 17 per cent in March when compared with February.
According to figures compiled by the Irish Nurses and Midwife Organisation (INMO), which takes a trolley count in all hospitals at 8am daily, some 1,078 patients have been on trolleys in TUH since January.
A breakdown of the figures show that 327 patients were on trolleys in January of this year at TUH, 290 in February and 461 in March.
In a comment to The Echo, a spokesperson for TUH said: “The Emergency Department (ED) continues to be exceptionally busy.
“With continuing high numbers of people attending the ED we are continuing to ask the public to consider all care options, saving the ED for those patients who need urgent and emergency care.
“All patients are triaged and those with injuries that are non-life threatening / urgent will wait longer to be seen.
“The hospital is asking the public to contact their GP during normal surgery hours or the GP Out of Hours service in the first instance if their health problem is not urgent.”
According to Richie O’ Reilly, Vice Chair of the Tallaght Hospital Action Group, TUH needs Government support to build a proposed 72-bed unit on site.
“Tallaght Hospital needs beds,” Mr O’Reilly told The Echo.
“The hospital projected that they needed more beds and anticipated the rising figures… and on that basis, made a plan for [an additional] 72 beds.
“We campaigned to get Tallaght Hospital and I intend to start a community campaign for the 72-beds.”