Elderly patients forced to wait over 24 hours for care at Cork hospitals

Elderly patients forced to wait over 24 hours for care at Cork hospitals
Picture Denis Minihane.

OVERCROWDING in Cork hospitals has resulted in many over 75s waiting for more than 24 hours for care.

More than 2,000 elderly patients were affected in two of Cork’s main hospitals between January and November 2019.

HSE figures, released to Sinn Féin, show 2,223 elderly patients had to wait for more than 24 hours between the Mercy University Hospital and Cork University Hospital last year.

Nationally, 15,344 patients over the age of 75 had to wait over 24 hours for treatment in Emergency Departments around the State.

The figures, released to Sinn Féin, come as the HSE and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Union cancelled all elective surgery in a number of Cork hospitals in response to the severe overcrowding there.

Sinn Féin TD for Cork South-Central Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has said this is indicative of a broken system and that more must be done to tackle overcrowding, and that older people, in particular, are deserving of much better treatment.

“Unfortunately, the issue of overcrowding is not a new phenomenon, and one which we are all too familiar with in our hospitals. Fine Gael’s lack of planning for the health service throughout 2019 has consistently put the health of older patients at risk,” Deputy Ó Laoghaire said.

“This was foreseeable in a way, and the pressures on hospitals have been flagged up with the Minister well in advance, with overcrowding numbers being a consistent factor of his time in office. This is all indicative of a broken system; a system that is tearing at the seams, and it appears no amount of government patchwork can fix it,” he added.

“Minister Harris must intervene immediately; and the HSE must ramp up their efforts to employ new nurses and doctors to facilitate the number of people attending our hospitals. A failure to do so is yet another failure of the system itself.”

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