560 over-75s waited for over 24 hours in University Hospital Limerick emergency department

Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

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Fintan Walsh, Health Correspondent

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fintan.walsh@limerickleader.ie

560 over-75s waited for over 24 hours in University Hospital Limerick emergency department

A TOTAL of 560 patients aged 75 and older waited more than 24 hours to be discharged or admitted in the emergency department and wards at University Hospital Limerick in the first three months of this year. 

Figures received by Fianna Fail from the HSE via parliamentary question revealed that 4,349 patients 75 and older were waiting for more than 24 hours. 

Fianna Fail TDs Willie O’Dea and Niall Collins condemned the new figures, describing the situation as “disgraceful”. 

UHL had the highest number of over-75s waiting for more than 24 hours in the country, according to the figures. 

"The bar was set very low when the target was introduced by the HSE, and yet it has been missed literally thousands of times. These figures are disgraceful and despite the fact that they have decreased on previous years, it’s still not acceptable to have some of our most vulnerable people treated in this manner,” Deputy O’Dea said this Tuesday. 

Deputy Collins said that sitting for hours in an emergency department is “wearying, even for a person in the full of their health. 

“To have a person, aged over 75, sit in such an uncomfortable and stressful setting for over 24-hours is further compounding their ill-health. 

“A lack of basic bed capacity is a fundamental problem in health care in Ireland and if the Minister can’t get to grips with even the basic problems, three years into his tenure, then we are going to see thousands more over 75's languish in A&E’s across the country.”

The second highest figure was at University Hospital Galway with 449 over-75s waiting for more than 24 hours. 

According to the daily figures published by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, there were 43 patients being treated on a trolley in the emergency department and on additional trolleys or beds in the wards at University Hospital Limerick, the highest level in the country this Tuesday.