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Call for ‘zero-tolerance’ to hospital overcrowding


VERY CONCERNED BY NUMBERS Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh, Sinn Féin.

INMO reveals 446 patients on MUH trollies during March

Anton McNulty

The high number of patients on trollies in Mayo University Hospital has led to calls for a ‘zero-tolerance approach’ to deal with the overcrowding.
The Irish Nurses and Midwife Organisation (INMO) trolley-watch campaign has revealed that as of Monday morning, 19 patients were waiting for a bed in MUH. Eleven of those patients were in the emergency department of the hospital, while the remaining eight were in wards.
The month of March was, according to the INMO, the worst March for overcrowding since the union began counting trolleys in 2006.
In Mayo University Hospital, a staggering 446 patients were left without beds during the month. Last Tuesday, 30 patients recorded were trollies in MUH – 25 in the emergency department, five in wards.

‘Roughly double’
In light of the March figures, Sinn Féin TD Rose Conway-Walsh has called on the government to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to hospital overcrowding.
The Belmullet-based deputy demanded that the Minister for Health take charge of the situation and fix the root causes of emergency-department dysfunction to ensure that people in Mayo can get the healthcare they need.
“I am very concerned by the high number of people waiting on trolleys at Mayo University Hospital. New figures show 446 people were without a bed this March at the hospital. This is roughly double the number we see most years, which was already worryingly high and unacceptable.
“The Government must take a zero-tolerance approach to hospital overcrowding to ensure that people in Mayo can get the high-quality and timely healthcare they need.
“The minister must take charge of the situation, root out wasteful or poor management practices, and make sure that hospitals are able to adopt better patient-management practices.
“This is not a new issue – patients have been suffering the torturous consequences of overcrowding for years.
“The root causes of emergency department dysfunction are poor patient flow, low hospital capacity, delayed discharges, poor out-of-hours GP coverage and a lack of alternatives in the community. We need additional capital investment in Community and District Hospitals such as Belmullet and Ballina.
“There is, without question, a need for more beds and more capacity in diagnostics and surgical theatres, but that is not all. There are efficiency reforms that have worked in some hospitals to reduce overcrowding and reduce delays in discharging patients, such as specialist medical wards.
“Above all else, we need to join up community and hospital healthcare. Too often, hospitals are left trying to discharge a patient, but there is no recovery bed available for them. Regional Health Areas will help to streamline this process,” she said.
The latest HSE figures on Covid numbers in hospitals revealed that as of 8pm on Sunday evening there were 52 cases of Covid-19 in MUH. The figure had reduced significantly from earlier in the week, when 76 cases were recorded on Monday evening, March 28.
The latest figures also reveal that there are currently no acute beds available in the Castlebar hospital and that of the 52 Covid cases, one is in the Intensive Care Unit.


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