Winter of hell awaits unless action taken on ED wait times
7 August 2020
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Health and Disability Services
A winter of hell awaits unless action is taken on wait times at Emergency Departments according to Labour Leader and Health Spokesperson Alan Kelly who was speaking after receiving a reply to a Parliamentary Question outlining the amount of time persons are waiting in emergency departments by number of hours.
Deputy Kelly said:
“The figures released to me by the HSE show that in the Winter months of January and February of 2019 and 2020 nearly 10% of all patients at UHL were waiting up to 24 hours in the Emergency Department. The figures I have obtained do not outline how many patients were waiting more than 24 hours in ED and I would call on the HSE to publish those figures particularly in relation to UHL where chronic overcrowding is an issuu every Winter.
“UHL is consistently the most overcrowded hospital in the country and trolley numbers are rising again in the last few months since lockdown measures were eased. Minister Donnelly needs to act now as wait times in Emergency Departments and trolley numbers have been steadily rising since May.
“A simple measure the Government could take to alleviate the pressure on our Emergency Departments is to extend the flu vaccine to all for free which would slow the spread of the winter flu and would free up hospital beds during the busy wintertime. I have asked them a number of times to extend the remit of the flu vaccine which they have repeatedly refused to do.
“I have also called upon the Minister to deal with the issue of transport provision in the acute system by ramping up ambulance services. Transport provision is always delaying how patients are being released from hospital or taken out of serious acute settings and into a step-down facility. We need intermediate vehicles and more ambulances. The Minister needs to address this urgently before we enter the critical winter period.