CONCERNS Castlebar councillor, Michael Kilcoyne
Meeting hears A&E dealt with double its capacity last year
The Accident and Emergency Department at Mayo University Hospital, Castlebar, last year had to cope with twice the numbers it was designed for.
The startling revelation was conceded by the hospital’s Deputy Manager Lucy Martindale at a local council meeting last Wednesday.
Ms Martindale said that the A&E is designed for a ‘throughput’ of 20,000 patients a year, but that during 2016, it had to deal with twice that number.
Ms Martindale was speaking at the monthly meeting of the Castlebar Municipal District of Mayo County Council, where she was addressing councillors’ concerns about parking at the entrance to the hospital.
Speaking to The Mayo News after the meeting Castlebar-based Cllr Michael Kilcoyne (Ind), who is a member of the HSE West Regional Health Forum, demanded action after hearing the figures confirmed.
“What we were told sounds to me that the Accident and Emergency Department in Mayo University Hospital should be twice the size and have twice the staff in order to cope with demand.
“However, this does not appear to register with Saolta [the group which manages hospitals in the north west] and, especially, the Health Service Executive and the Department of Health.
“A&E in Castlebar is bursting at the seems and these figures confirm why people are often waiting seven or eight hours to be seen. The staff at the hospital are doing all they can, but they are clearly hugely understaffed,” he said.
Cllr Kilcoyne said that part of the reason for the overcrowding is the closure of the Accident and Emergency Department at Roscommon General Hospital, which has meant that more people are now going to Castlebar. “But the end result is people are not receiving the care and treatment they need at the time they should be receiving it. The fact that it hasn’t been addressed means our government TDs in the county and the Fianna Fáil TDs who are helping to keep the Government in power are doing nothing about it,” he said, adding: “It is also a poor reflection on having a Taoiseach in the town for seven years.”
‘Humiliating for the sick’
According to one source, whose elderly parent spent two nights on the A&E corridor in recent weeks, it ‘is clear the staff are totally under-resourced and under inordinate pressure to deal with the numbers arriving by one ambulance after another’.
“The stress on staff and patients, some of whom are very old and confused, is unacceptable and utterly humiliating for the sick. Attempting to massage figures by putting people into day wards overnight is simply avoiding the real issue that must be addressed urgently. MUH needs more beds and more staff,” the source said.