Sick children left for 24 hours on trolleys
CHILDREN are spending up to 24 hours on hospital trolleys because of the shortage of beds, emergency doctors claim.
Each night 13 or 14 children have to spend the night on a trolley in an emergency department and some spend their entire hospital stay on one.
Numbers are "at historically high and dangerous levels" according to the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine which says that waiting times at Crumlin Children's hospital have increased 700pc.
The organisation says the rate of children leaving emergency departments without being seen is also increasing and this is an indication of parents' unhappiness with overcrowding.
The doctors say that five years ago just one or two children spent the night on a hospital trolley but now the figure has risen to 13 or 14 children each night.
"Not infrequently, children are spending longer than 12 hours on a trolley and in some cases over 24 hours.
"The number of children who now receive their complete care in the paediatric emergency department is now eight times greater than in 2008," said Prof Ronan O'Sullivan.
Consultants say that the 12-hour wait on a trolley and 24-hour wait for a bed is ethically unacceptable.
They blame the sharp rise in paediatric overcrowding on the 10pc cut in paediatric beds because they say that overall paediatric admission rates have remained steady.
The association is calling on Minister for Health James Reilly to act now to deal with the pressure. "We must reopen paediatric beds for a short, but predictable period each winter to accommodate the increased demand for short-term hospital care of children," said Dr John McInerney
The Children's University Hospital in Temple Street is also reporting a significant worsening of overcrowding.