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Harris insists 'no effort being spared' to improve overcrowding situation in hospitals

Harris insists 'no effort being spared' to improve overcrowding situation in hospitals

YESTERDAY'S report from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation revealed nearly 100,000 people were waiting on hospital trolleys across the country past year, with over six and a half thousand of those in University Hospital Galway.

The INMO said there were 483 patients awaiting admission to a hospital bed on trolleys in emergency departments or on wards on Friday, down from almost 600 on Thursday, and a record 677 on Wednesday.

Health Minister Simon Harris has apologised to the hundreds of patients waiting for beds in hospitals across the country this week.

The hospitals worst affected are University Hospital Limerick with 52 patients waiting, St Luke's in Kilkenny with 46 and Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore with 37.

There were more than 2,400 patients on trolleys waiting for a hospital bed at some stage since the start of the new year, nurses have said.

Despite the headcount by nurses putting the figure at 656 - a level never seen before - Mr Harris said the crisis was a modest improvement on last winter when the 600 mark was also passed.

"At every budget for the past five years, we have warned that the supposed increases in the health budgets were mirages and they would not even keep pace with the underlying cost increases in the services".




With Ireland now experiencing the "flu season", many emergency departments are experiencing very high numbers of patients presenting at hospital.

The Mater University Hospital in Dublin was the capital's most overcrowded hospital with 5,238 patients on trolleys during 2017.

The Clinical Director of Temple Street Children's University Hospital has said the flu virus has not reached its peak, and she appealed to parents with children who may have the flu to be cognisant.

Nursing Homes Ireland said it estimates more than 1,400 beds are available to help with hospital discharges. Hospitalised cases of influenza and influenza-associated outbreaks in residential care facilities have also increased. In Dr Susan O'Reilly's plan, these two hospitals are supposed to take patients from Portlaoise if it is downgraded.

Harris said: "While recognising that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, we must continue to ensure the lessons that can be learned from those hospitals performing better are applied across the system".

He said it was likely the flu season had not yet peaked.

Nearly 200 people have been hospitalised with the flu and a small number - less than 10- of people have died.


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