The number of people waiting on trolleys at University Hospital Galway and Portiuncula Hospital during December was more than 5 times higher than the equivalent figure for 2006.
That’s according to Galway City Councillor Mairéad Farrell, who has called on Health Minister Simon Harris to act immediately on the overcrowding crisis at the Emergency Departments at both Galway hospitals.
Cllr Farrell said, “The ongoing crisis in our health service, which has manifested itself in unprecedented numbers of patients on trolleys, has not developed overnight. This crisis is the result of years of under investment and the closure by Government of A&Es such as Roscommon. It is a direct result of government policy.”
In December 2006 there was a combined 145 people on trolleys in the EDs at Portiuncula and UHG. In December 2016, that figure had increased to 737.
“UHG has some of the worse overcrowding across the state and it has had to implement full-capacity protocol several times recently due to overcrowding in A&E. Just before the Christmas there was one day when over 50 people were waiting on trolleys at UHG - the highest figure nationally. That is absolute madness,” said Cllr Farrell.
“There are very clear measures that the Minister could immediately take which would begin the process of dealing with this chronic overcrowding. Health workers and their unions in Galway are sick and tired of identifying the need for increased capacity.
“We believe that this should start with the reopening of 500 beds in our hospitals.
We also believe that we need to increase the capacity in primary care. This would enable more patients to transfer to a community setting. This can only be done by increasing home help hours and recruiting more therapists.
“We need to be clear - the buck stops with Minister Simon Harris. He needs to get a grip of this situation and meaningfully address the emergency in our hospitals. One thing is obvious - he needs to stop looking for excuses and start focusing on finding solutions.”
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