'People deserve better'; Consultant in emergency medicine slams overcrowding at Cork University Hospital

'People deserve better'; Consultant in emergency medicine slams overcrowding at Cork University Hospital

PEOPLE deserve better than the severe overcrowding they are being met with in hospitals across Cork and Ireland, according to a Cork hospital consultant.

More than 11,000 patients were left waiting for a bed at Cork University Hospital in 2019, according to the latest figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO). In 2018, just over 9,000 were left waiting on trolleys or wards for a bed at CUH.

Dr Conor Deasy, a Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Cork University Hospital (CUH)
Dr Conor Deasy, a Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Cork University Hospital (CUH)

Today, 52 people were left languishing in this situation at the hospital, as almost 550 waited for beds in hospitals across Ireland.

Speaking to The Echo, Dr Conor Deasy, a consultant in Emergency Medicine at CUH, said the hospital experienced “unprecedented overcrowding” over the past 12 months. 

He explained that the HSE’s desire to control budgets saw services fall by the wayside and patients were impacted as a result.

“We have experienced unprecedented overcrowding in the ED in 2019,” said Dr Deasy. 

“The emphasis on budgetary control has meant that those services that can stop or reduce services do so to come in on budget. But this creates extra work elsewhere in the health system.

“For example, in May 2019 we saw home care packages reduce dramatically - this resulted in CUH not being able to safely discharge patients back to their communities - this meant beds were not then available in CUH for patients being admitted from the Emergency Department.

“As a people, we deserve better than we are getting,” said Dr Deasy.

“Canvassing politicians should have credible strategies and a commitment to implementing them if they are to get your vote in 2020.” 

CUH was the second-worst affected hospital in Ireland last year in terms of overcrowding, behind only University Hospital Limerick, which saw almost 14,000 waiting for beds.

Nationally, 2019 was the worst-ever year for hospital overcrowding since records began with more than 118,000 patients left waiting for hospital beds across the country - nine percent higher than 2018. More than 1,300 of the patients were children younger than 16.

The worst months for overcrowding in 2019 were November (12,055), October (11,452), and September (10,641)

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