herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Beaumont overcrowding 'unsafe' say docs as hospital plans new ED

Health

The move comes as 46 patients were waiting on trolleys and chairs yesterday morning in the hospital.
The move comes as 46 patients were waiting on trolleys and chairs yesterday morning in the hospital.

Under-pressure Beaumont Hospital has appointed a design team to examine the building of a new emergency department (ED).

Independent TD Tommy Broughan said the hospital urgently needs a new ED, and the Government should prioritise the project and start work on it next year.

The move comes as 46 patients were waiting on trolleys and chairs yesterday morning in the hospital.

Mr Broughan said he received a reply this week to a parliamentary question that said the hospital had appointed a design team, incorporating architects and healthcare planners, to undertake a "feasibility study on the location, size and cost of building a new emergency department at the hospital".

A report is expected to be available in mid-December.

Mr Broughan said two of the patients who had to wait on chairs on Thursday night were aged in their 90s.

Medical representatives have warned that overcrowding levels are critical in the department heading into the bank holiday weekend.

Heaving

Lorraine Monaghan, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation's (INMO) industrial relations officer, said the department was "heaving" yesterday evening.

"Ambulances are coming in thick and fast, and those patients are very sick," she said. "The situation is very serious.

"There are staffing shortages in the department. They are three nurses short, which compounds the problems further.

"There is a high proportion of elderly patients in the ED and it's chaotic. Staff are under huge stress as they are faced with unmanageable workloads."

Meanwhile, the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), which represents doctors, said that as a result of overcrowding, "patients, among them frail elderly patients, are forced to wait on chairs and trolleys before they can receive the care they need".

"Patients should not have to endure such miserable and degrading treatment at any time, let alone when they are at their most vulnerable," it added.

"The committed doctors who staff this department cannot practise safe medicine in such overcrowded and unsafe conditions."

In a statement, Beaumont Hospital said it "regrets the difficult conditions experienced by patients and staff" at its ED.

"It is Beaumont Hospital's practice to treat all patients with dignity and care," it said.

The hospital is actively working on a recruitment campaign, the statement added.

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