Photo credit: Gript

Donnelly called 2018 trolley stats “borderline elder abuse”

“This is wasteful and inefficient and a horrendous situation for patients to be in.”

That’s what Fianna Fáil TD Stephen Donnelly said in 2018, describing the State’s trolley figures and hospital waiting times.

On December 22nd of 2018, when Fine Gael was in government, Donnelly slammed the fact that during that year, over 30,000 patients had waited more than 24 hours to be seen in emergency departments.

“While it’s not surprising that so many have endured such long waits it’s still appalling and unacceptable,” said Donnelly at the time.

“To make a bad situation worse, more than one in three were aged over 75. This is a disgraceful situation and must be viewed as borderline elder abuse.”

He added: “This is wasteful and inefficient and a horrendous situation for patients to be in.”

However, while 30,000 people waited over 24 hours for a bed in Emergency Departments in 2018, the situation was even worse last year despite Donnelly serving as Health Minister since 2020.

As revealed in an Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health last year, by November as many as 35,000 people had waited over 24 hours for a bed in an Emergency Department in 2022 – even worse than the “appalling” 2018 figure.

In addition, in July of this year, one patient over the age of 75 was forced to wait 9.4 days for a bed in Galway University Hospital.

This week Minister Donnelly warned of a “perfect storm” for the HSE regarding seasonal respiratory illnesses such as Covid-19, influenza and RSV, with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) claiming that emergency departments are experiencing the worst hospital overcrowding since records began.

The crisis has developed to the point where the HSE is urging patients not to check into emergency departments unless all other alternatives have been considered.

Earlier this week Donelly said that delays in emergency admission were “not acceptable” and “never acceptable,” attributing the crisis in part to an earlier-than-expected flu wave.


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