NEW figures show that 1,029 patients over the age of 75 have had to wait more than 24 hours to be treated at Cork University Hospital (CUH) and the Mercy Hospital emergency departments so far this year.
The figures were revealed as trolley numbers hit record highs in 2018, with Cork University Hospital the second most affected hospital in the country with 8,566 patients being trolleys since January.
The number of patients who have waited on trolleys or in wards for a hospital bed has exceeded 100,000 this year, for the first time since records began.
Statistics collated by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) show that the Mercy Hospital has had 2,475 patients without beds this year, while the most overcrowded hospital in the country is Limerick University Hospital with 10,544.
Across the country, 10,855 patients over 75 were not seen within 24 hours so far this year.
Sinn Féin TD Pat Buckley said the situation is “unacceptable”.
“An often less spoken about strand of the emergency department crisis and the trolley crisis is the impact it has on the elderly people who use our acute hospitals.
“These patients are often among the most vulnerable people due to their age and the additional medical needs that can sometimes accompany ageing. Being treated urgently prevents escalation of injury and ensures safety and swift treatment.
“It is unacceptable that anyone is left waiting on a trolley for over 24 hours, but it is borderline criminal that elderly people are.
“The HSE has a 24-hour target for seeing those over the age of 75, this target in and of itself is far too low and completely lacks ambition. That such a low target has been missed on 10,855 separate occasions is a serious case for concern,” he added.