Conditions at Cork University Hospital are “very difficult” for both patients and staff, according to a lead consultant in the hospital’s emergency department.
CUH has seen more than 50 patients waiting for beds at the hospital for the past two days.
On Wednesday, 41 patients were left on trolleys while another 17 were waiting in wards for a bed.
Dr Conor Deasy, a consultant in Emergency Medicine at CUH, said: “Conditions are very difficult for patients and staff.”
Health Minister Simon Harris told the Oireachtas Health Committee recently that up to 190 beds will be opened in hospitals across Ireland in the coming weeks in a bid to alleviate pressure on hospital emergency departments (ED).
The Department of Health confirmed to The Echo that 20 new beds have been earmarked for CUH, which has seen severe overcrowding in recent weeks.
“While we welcome the injection of funding it is often difficult to get extra staff and create extra bed capacity in the hospitals for these winter initiatives,” admitted Dr Deasy.
“Our existing staff are working flat out already so offering overtime doesn’t get much traction.
“We need to work towards a transformational change in the system whereby we gear down to summer and quieter periods rather than the present situation where we gear up in response to winter,” he said.
“This requires investment in bed capacity and staff across the acute and community healthcare system.”
CUH told The Echo this week that recruitment is ongoing to ensure that 20 new beds allocated for the hospital can open.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) had warned that the new beds would not be able to open unless additional staff were recruited.
Liam Conway, Cork industrial relations officer for the INMO had warned the beds will not be able to open without more staff.
“Any plan to open additional beds would require the hospital to first fill the current 50 vacancies and then put forward a funded plan and recruit the necessary staff to open additional bed capacity,” he said.