Patients at Cork University Hospital have experienced delays in the Emergency Department as a result of increased activity over the past few days.
Hospital management revealed today that CUH has been “exceptionally busy” in recent days, in particular the period from Monday to Wednesday this week.
“Due to this increased level of activity and subsequent admissions, it is regrettable that some patients may experience a delay in the ED,” the hospital said in a statement.
“The increase in attendance is due to the large number of very ill medical patients requiring admission.
“Patient care is paramount in CUH and this situation is being treated as a priority by Hospital Management who have taken steps to address this issue,” it added.
Hospital management have requested that, where appropriate, the public contact their GP in the first instance and explore all other options available to them prior to attending the Emergency Department if their needs are not urgent.
The delays come the day after it was revealed more than 1,000 patients were left waiting for a bed at CUH last month.
The latest figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation show that hospital overcrowding nationally was 33% higher last month than the same period last year.
There were 1,079 patients on trolleys or on wards awaiting a bed at CUH last month, the second highest level of overcrowding in Ireland, behind University Hospital Limerick.
Liam Conway, INMO Industrial Relations Officer for the Cork region, said staff and patients are getting no respite from overcrowded conditions during the summer months.
“It’s not a seasonal issue, it’s now a chronic, all-year-round battle within CUH and other hospitals,” he told The Echo.
“The latest figures show that from July 2006 to now, there has been a 173% increase in trolley figures nationally.
“CUH unfortunately is the second worst offender and has been for the past two months,” he added.
“In fact, on Tuesday, there were 60 patients on trolleys in CUH alone.
“It is a chronic issue in the hospital and we have been advocating strongly for significant investment in terms of bed capacity and capital infrastructure at the hospital.
“To have 60 patients awaiting a hospital bed on any day is a huge issue and it’s been getting progressively worse because it is not being dealt with at national level.
“On top of that there is significant understaffing on wards and in Emergency Departments which aggravates the situation and increases the risks for both patients and staff.”