‘Consider alternative care options’ to emergency department – TUH
TALLAGHT University Hospital is continuing to ask members of the public to consider ‘alternative care options’ to its emergency department, following “extremely high” activity in February.
In figures released to The Echo, a spokesperson for the local hospital said that its morning trolley count numbers, patients on trolleys at 8am, were up 17 per cent in February, when compared with February 2019.
The hospital is comparing to 2019 figures as this was the last full year, without interruptions from Covid-19 or the health system cyber-attack.
Last month, presentations to ED were also up four per cent when compared with the same period in 2019, with people presenting over the age of 75 up 25 per cent.
The admission rate to hospital through the emergency department is up 58 per cent, with the average stay for patients also up by 1.1 days and bed occupancy up by eight per cent.
A spokesperson for Tallaght University Hospital (TUH) told The Echo: “In the month of February activity has been extremely high…
“The early days of March have also been particularly busy, with the volume of patients attending the ED causing lengthy delay for those that do not need urgent treatment.
“We are continuing to ask the public to consider alternative care options before attending the ED as unfortunately people with less urgent complaints are experiencing long wait times.”
The spokesperson added: “The hospital regrets any delay a patient of any age experiences whilst waiting in our emergency department, patients are prioritised according to clinical need.”
The trolley count figures are carried out by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), which reported 30 people on trolleys in TUH on Wednesday morning of this week.
Nationally, TUH had the fifth highest number of patients on trolleys on Wednesday, following University Hospital Limerick (68), University Hospital Galway (54), Letterkenny University Hospital (46) and Cork University Hospital (32). There were no children on trolleys at the National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght, on Wednesday morning.
According to the INMO, 9,869 patients were without a bed in the month of February nationwide, which exceeds pre-pandemic levels of 8,515 in 2019.
In a statement released on Wednesday morning, the INMO called on the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health to take action on overcrowding.
The calls were made ahead of a meeting between the INMO and the Committee.
According to INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha, as of March 8, some 21,535 patients have been on trolleys so far this year.
“Our nurses and midwives are under severe pressure; they are dealing with huge numbers of COVID and non-COVID patients presenting at emergency departments coupled with inadequate staffing levels,” she said.
“We know that if a patient is on a trolley for more than five hours it can have a significant knock-on impact on their health and indeed their mortality.
“State agencies such as the Department of Health, HIQA and the HSE need to step up to their responsibilities they have here and take decisive action.”
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