After RTE News released shocking footage of the current reality of severe overcrowding in Irish hospitals, Sue Shaw spoke with Treasa Murphy on Kerry Radio this morning.
The unsettling footage showed the corridors of University Hospital Limerick, lined with trolleys filled with patients waiting for a bed. Hallways are wall to wall with trollies that are so closely packed together that staff are finding it difficult to move around between patients. St. Vincent’s Hospital Dublin displayed a similar scene with some patients waiting in chairs, side by side with little to no evidence of patients wearing face masks.
Sue noted that overcrowding in hospitals has become more prevalent and continues to increase each year. As the issue has been evident for quite some time, the Government have been reluctant to invest in step-down facilities and community healthcare. The Irish health system needs to be restructured to facilitate the growing population, in particular the growing number of older persons. With the majority of people waiting on trollies being of an older age, they are at an increased risk of infection while also not receiving adequate care and treatment.
Sue continued to describe how the pandemic highlighted the major disparity in treatment towards older people. She also mentioned a 2017 report published in the Irish Medical Journal 2017. This highlighted the findings of a 10-year study in Beaumont Hospital which showed the unequal treatment of older people, particularly those over 80 years. It highlighted that people over 80 wait twice as long for admission as those in their 20’s. Hospital Wards ‘cherry pick’ the younger patients as they have a shorter stay, leaving older people longer in A&E with all the inherent risks associated with this.
(Image Source Irish Examiner)
We are in no doubt that this is a strain on an everyday basis for hospital staff leading to stress and burnout of people who have given their all during Covid 19 and continue to do so on a daily basis.
It is not good enough for patients or for staff and particularly for those who for a variety of reasons, age being only one of them are vulnerable and need a much better health care system.
The reality is that this is a crisis. We need to invest in developing more accessible community care, increasing the number of healthcare professionals and step-down facilities so people can recuperate outside of hospital. This would provide more opportunity to free up beds for people in a more critical state.
You can listen to full the interview on Kerry Radio HERE.