Up to 134 patients may have died in January due to trolley crisis

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A local TD has said that new figures show that up to 134 patients may have died last month as a result of being forced to wait more than six to eight hours for a hospital bed in Irish hospitals.

Independent TD Denis Naughten said that this highlights the urgent need to take a new approach to the challenges within the health service.

The figure of 134 patient deaths is based on INMO figures that over 11,000 patients were on trolleys last month, along with a recent study in the Emergency Medicine Journal which indicated that for every 82 people forced to wait more than six to eight hours for admittance to hospital, there is one death above the expected mortality rate.

Deputy Naughten, along with his colleagues in the Regional Group, will move a motion in the Dáil seeking to overhaul the delivery of pre-hospital emergency care services.

This overhaul ranges from training for staff in schools and childcare facilities to an expanded role for paramedics.

This, he said, would help to reduce the numbers of patients attending Emergency Departments in the first instance.

“Demographics in Ireland are changing and I believe that healthcare needs to change as well,” said the Roscommon-Galway TD.

“The recent spike in Emergency Department attendances and ongoing trolley numbers are a symptom of problems in several areas, from community health services to emergency services, all of which seem to culminate at emergency department doors.”

Naughten also highlighted delays in physically reaching emergency departments, with the National Ambulance Service (NAS) reporting that they are not meeting their emergency response target times.

“In some regions these response times have increased by, on average, ten minutes since 2019.”