Old people on trolleys highlights ‘abject failure’ of government

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Limerick Fianna Fáil TD Willie O'Dea

NEW figures confirming that more than 1,453 people over the age of 75 were kept waiting over 24 hours at the emergency department at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) so far this year have exposed the “abject failure of Fine Gael’s health strategy”.

That’s according to Limerick Fianna Fail TD Willie O’Dea who says it also indicates that the crisis is getting worse not better.

“The figures show that the situation at UHL for over 75s was by far the worst of all the hospitals in the country. Of the 9,206 people who were kept waiting more than 24 hours in emergency departments across the country, 1,453 of them were in UHL. This is another damning indictment of University Hospital Limerick,” Deputy O’Dea told the Limerick Post.

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“Over the last three months, an additional 3,326 over 75s were forced to wait more than 24 hours in Emergency Departments to be treated or to be admitted across Ireland,” he said.

“The very idea that keeping an older person, or indeed any person, on a trolley for 24 hours is acceptable is insulting to the dignity of our citizens.

The HSE’s Service Plan for 2017 set a target that all people aged 75 years and over would be discharged or admitted within 24 hours of registration.

He claims that the acute hospital budget is wholly inadequate to meet the growing demands on the health system and is calling on Health Minister Simon Harris to finalise the bed capacity review to develop increased capacity and how he will fund it over the next five years.

“It’s not acceptable that so many older and more vulnerable people should have to endure such long waits at the emergency department in UHL.

“Long waiting times should be an exception and not the norm. It’s going to get worse this winter, and I seriously doubt that Minister Harris has the wherewithal to deal with the crisis,” Deputy O’Dea concluded.

by Alan Jacques

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