Irish Daily Mail

‘Record numbers’ attending A&Es

- By Ronan Smyth

HOSPITALS in the west and northwest of the country say they are currently dealing with ‘record numbers’ of attendance at their A&Es.

The resulting concern of overcrowdi­ng comes as the Department of Health yesterday reported 1,819 new cases of Covid-19.

There were 206 Covid patients in hospital, with 36 in ICUs.

The Saolta University Health Care Group – which includes hospitals in Donegal, Mayo, Sligo, Roscommon and Galway – issued the warning about emergency department­s being overwhelme­d yesterday, saying that Covid-19 case numbers are growing in the community, resulting in ‘greater numbers of hospitalis­ations’.

Anne Burke, industrial relations officer for the HSE Western Area with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisati­on, told the Irish Daily Mail that the numbers attending EDs have ‘absolutely rocketed’.

She added that Covid is one part, but not the biggest part.

‘Speaking to my members, it is anything and everything. The minor treatment, people with injuries and that: that is high but it is probably a lot of people have held their illnesses and their concerns for a long period of time and the next thing the door is unleashed. It is across all specialiti­es,’ she explained.

Ms Burke said that in University Hospital Galway alone, there were 215 presentati­ons at its ED on Tuesday. On Monday there were 225.

‘At over 200 a day, it really is big. Even if emergency department­s had their full staffing, you wouldn’t be able to deal with that,’ she said.

‘Our emergency department­s are certainly not equipped for catering for that volume of people.

‘There’s no two ways about it: Galway is really being hammered at the moment in terms of attendance.

We have very, very significan­t issues in Mayo. I’m waiting for a meeting with Saolta about it.

‘We have trolleys on the wards in Galway, we have trolleys on the wards in Mayo General. Portiuncul­a is a tiny hospital, it was never designed for a trolley on a corridor.’

And Tony Canavan, CEO of the Saolta Hospital Group, said: ‘Our hospitals are continuing to deal with record numbers of attendance­s at emergency department­s.

‘All the while, the number of Covid19 infections in our communitie­s is growing and resulting in greater numbers of hospitalis­ations.’

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