Overcrowding crisis “unacceptable”

25 patients were on trollies at Letterkenny General Hospital yesterday as the beds crisis continued to rumble on.

While the numbers were down from its highest - 31 - on Tuesday, a day in which the number of patients on trollies reached its largest number ever - 601.

Yesterday, the overall total was 371 but despite this, a large number of patients were still experiencing significant delays in accessing a bed.16 people were on trollies and 9 in wards yesterday.

On Thursday, Inishowen-based Donegal North East TD Charlie McConalogue said it was “utterly unacceptable” that overcrowding levels at Letterkenny General Hospital have been allowed to spiral out of control.

“I am appalled that overcrowding at Letterkenny General has reached such drastic levels.

“The winter period is traditionally a pressure point for hospitals but proper and effective management of this by the Government would help hospitals through the difficult periods.”

He added that the two main problems affecting the hospitals across the country were the shortage of staff and shortage of beds.

He said cuts made to the Fair Deal scheme had “impacted significantly” on the number of people who remain in hospital but no longer require intensive medical care and “could be move to another care setting if it was available.” Commending hospital staff, Deputy McConalogue said they were “doing extraordinary work under intolerable conditions.”

Earlier in the week, the HSE said the pressure on Emergency Departments is “likely to continue in the weeks ahead as the seasonal surge in demand continues.”

They encouraged people to contact their GP in the first instance “where they can be directed appropriately to services such as rapid access clinics, day hospital services for older people and acute medical assessment units, as appropriate.”

They and the Saolta Healthcare Group also apologised to patients and their families for “any distress” caused.