Average 9-hour waits in Mercy University Hospital A&E

Average 9-hour waits in Mercy University Hospital A&E
The Mercy University Hospital

NEW figures have revealed that the average waiting time for patients at the Mercy University Hospital A&E was almost 9 hours over an entire month-long period.

Information obtained by The Echo through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request revealed the average waiting time for patients in the emergency department at the Mercy was 8.6 hours before they were admitted, discharged, or treated.

The HSE has said that patients should wait no more than six hours.

The Echo sought the information on waiting times amid continuing overcrowding concerns at Cork hospitals, and was given the average waiting figures for the entire month of February.

The figures for the Mercy were revealed after a chaotic period in Cork University Hospital last week when patients were waiting for more than 12 hours during a status black escalation, deeming it clinically unsafe to admit more patients.

A spokesperson for the Mercy told The Echo that more and more elderly people were presenting at the A&E, which was having a knock-on effect on the waiting times.

The spokesman for the Mercy University Hospital (MUH) said: “The number of frail, elderly people presenting to MUH is increasing, and this patient cohort are prioritised for admission, which can lead to delays for other age groups.”

He said the hospital has introduced a number of strategies to improve patient flow in the emergency department including rapid access triage by doctors to assist patient turnaround times, redeployment of specialist staff, and additional Saturday and Sunday shifts in the laboratory to support further timely infection control screening and reduce the number of people in the emergency department (ED).

“The challenges relating to patient flow within emergency departments is not unique to MUH,” he added.

“It should be noted that the majority of people presenting are very ill and require hospital admittance for treatment.

“The clinical needs of all patients in the ED are cared for, and all beds are open within the hospital.”

It was revealed last month that more than 1,200 people aged over 75 were forced last year to wait for over 24 hours in Cork hospital emergency departments.

Almost 1,000 of those were waiting in Cork University Hospital (CUH), while 364 were forced to wait at the Mercy.

HSE figures, obtained by Fianna Fáil, revealed that around 14,000 over-75s were left in the same situation across Ireland in 2018.

Cork University Hospital has witnessed severe overcrowding at times since the beginning of the year.

A status black escalation was issued at CUH on Monday of last week, which means the hospital was at maximum capacity and deemed unsafe to admit further patients.

More than 230 patients were waiting on trolleys and in wards at the Mercy in February, according to figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), which did not take counts on February 5 or 7 due to strike action.

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