Hospitals like Portiuncula under most pressure due to overcrowding says local TD

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Portiuncula Hospital has the most under pressure Emergency Department in the country due to a lack of available beds, new figures have revealed.

The extent of the chaos at the hospital was revealed in a nationwide analysis which looked at trolley numbers reflected as a percentage of overall numbers of beds available.

The figures, obtained by Denis Naughten TD, show there were just eight beds in Portiuncula Hospital for every patient on a trolley in the hospital on average last month.

At the other end of the scale, there were 215 beds in Tullamore Hospital for every patient on a trolley.

The numers show that the hospitals and staff under the most pressure due to overcrowding are not those with the headline grabbing numbers, but the smaller hospitals in Ballinasloe, Nenagh, Bantry, Kilkenny and Nass.

Commenting on the figures Deputy Naughten said: “If we delve down into the numbers of patients waiting on trolleys to date in 2023 and analyse this as a percentage of the number of beds in each hospital, we get a much better indication of the pressure that each hospital was under last month.

“The reason this is important is because while I have no doubt the HSE will put the hospitals with the big numbers at the top of their agenda, it is feared that the smaller hospitals under the most pressure will be ignored because this is what has happened up to now.”

He said that Portiuncula Hospital put a proposal to the HSE and Department of Health nearly three years ago to provide a modular extension to the Emergency Department to ease the overcrowding.

“To date no decision has been made on this proposal because clearly it is not high enough up the HSE agenda.

“Other hospitals have put forward simple measures to deal with the challenges that they are facing, which would not only ease pressure on our hospital system but ensure that patients get safer and more timely care.”