Special examination to identify ways to ease overcrowding at UHW
Waterford Fianna Fáil election candidate Mary Butler has called for a special examination to identify ways to ease overcrowding at University Hospital Waterford after new data revealed a 278% increase in the number of patients waiting on trolleys in September.
The figures compiled by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation show there were 68 patients on trolleys in September 2014. But that figure jumped dramatically to 257 in September this year.
Councillor Butler said: “There is a real sense of anxiety coming from people about the health service. They’re really worried about getting sick or what will happen if elderly relatives or friends become ill or get injured and need to go to hospital. These figures point to serious problems in Waterford and are quite alarming.
“The Emergency Department task-force setup by the government last year has clearly made no impact on the crisis facing Waterford. An increase of almost 280% in the number of patients waiting on trolleys points is just simply unacceptable. I have spoken to be people working on the frontline in our health service and they are dreading what is ahead if things deteriorate this winter. We need specific measures put in place to ease overcrowding at University Hospital Waterford.
“I welcome the fact that the INMO is seeking an independent health and safety review of emergency departments. I share the frustration our nurses have and can understand why industrial action could be a route they pursue in order to shake the government into action. There is a real lack of leadership in the political management of the crisis. Minister Leo Varadkar has been very visible and certainly says all the right things but what improvements are being achieved? By the Government’s own admission the Chair of the Emergency Department Taskforce was not the appropriate person to take on the task and has now been replaced.
“I have recently written to Gerry O’Dwyer, the chief executive of the South/South West Hospitals Group to seek clarity on serious disparity on in-patient and day case waiting lists in Waterford. I have been concerned for some time that Waterford University Hospital is become more of a satellite service to Cork instead of being an anchor of the health service for the south east region.
“It is vital that the public can have confidence in the health service. They shouldn’t fear having to go into hospital and face the prospect of waiting for hours on end on trolley parked in hospital corridor. We need to restore some dignity and respect to how we treat our citizens when they need our health service.”