CORK UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL is in desperate need of additional bed capacity following a difficult January and winter period, according to a leading Emergency Department (ED) consultant at the hospital.
Dr Conor Deasy said that the past month has been very difficult for both patients and staff, with the lack of beds in key areas exacerbating issues of overcrowding.
“We desperately need to see bed capacity coming on line. We are short medical, high dependency and intensive care and step down beds.”
Dr Deasy also revealed that the 20 beds promised to CUH by Health Minister Simon Harris towards the end of last year are yet to open. Mr Harris told the Oireachtas Health Committee in December that up to 190 beds were to be opened in hospitals across Ireland in the coming weeks in a bid to alleviate pressure on hospital emergency departments.
The Department of Health confirmed to The Echo that 20 new beds were earmarked for CUH. Dr Deasy said that the hospital is yet to see these beds open and functioning.
CUH has witnessed severe overcrowding in recent weeks with more than 60 patients waiting for beds at the hospital on several occasions.
Fifty eight patients were left waiting for a bed at CUH at one point earlier this week, according to figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
On January 21, Cork saw almost 100 patients on trolleys across three hospitals. That morning saw 67 patients waiting for a bed at CUH along with 18 at the Mercy and seven at Bantry General.
Earlier this month, nursing unions called an emergency meeting with the HSE as overcrowding reaches crisis levels at Cork’s two biggest hospitals.
The INMO said conditions at CUH and the Mercy Hospital were “appalling”.