LETTERKENNY General Hospital asked members of the public to only attend the hospital’s Emergency Department for real emergencies.
This afternoon the Saolta group of hospitals (formerly the west north west hospital group) issued a statement saying there were 20 patients on trolleys awaiting admission at LGH and that the hospital was working strenuously to ensure access to beds.
As the extent of overcrowding nation-wide emerged on Monday Liam Doran of the INMO said there could be over 600 patients waiting on beds by next week. The Irish Nursing and Midwives’ Organisation has said industrial action by its members is “inevitable” unless extra staff are taken on and public beds are re-opened to improve conditions in hospitals.
Mr Doran said the record numbers of patients on trolleys in hospitals on Monday – 563 – was as a direct result of a contracting health service.
He said extra beds and extra staff are needed immediately to improve the situation and that only additional resources will solve the problem.
Saolta issued a statement in relation to LGH saying “In common with a number of other hospitals throughout the country, the Emergency Department at Letterkenny General Hospital is very busy today (January 5, 2015). Members of the public are reminded to keep the Emergency Department for emergencies and to contact their GP or GP Out of Hours services in the first instance.
“The spike in the level of activity over the past few days is due both to the number of patients presenting to the hospital and the dependency level of the patients who are presenting or are already in hospital”.
The spokesperson set out measure which were being taken to ensure that every patient who presents to the hospital is treated in a timely and safe manner. They include: Each patient is being reviewed by their attending consultant with a view to expediting discharges: Consultant led rounds twice daily driven by Bed Management meetings: Prioritising diagnostics for in-patients: Scheduled in-patient admissions are being deferred until a later date: Escalation beds are being commissioned to accommodate additional patients: There is on-going engagement with colleagues in PCCC and Community Hospitals with regard to transferring patients who require residential care but who do not require secondary care any longer: Private nursing homes will be considered if insufficient capacity is available in PCCC. The overall situation is being kept under constant review.
Mr Doran claimed that the emergency department at the Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar was in “meltdown” on Sunday night with patients turned away, due to what he called “bureaucracy”.
He described the situation as “unforgivable”.
In a statement, the HSE said steps are being taken at the Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar to cope with the additional demand for services.
Mr Doran said nurses would likely ballot for industrial action in the coming weeks.
“Until beds are reopened, until units are properly staffed, extra wards are brought on stream, then our members will continue to put patients first and if that means they have to highlight it by banning administrative duties and so on they will.
“We have had ten years of counting trolleys, today is the worst ever figure – who says in management that’s progress, that’s abject failure by them and they have got to pull their socks up and solve this problem now.”
Mr Doran said he was shocked at the record figures for what is regarded as the first working day back of the New Year.
On Monday there were 67 patients waiting for admission at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, 41 at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin, 39 at St Luke’s in Kilkenny and 30 at Naas General.