Almost 6,000 people over the age of 75 have spent more than 24 hours in emergency departments.
The latest figures follow data from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation yesterday which show almost 58,000 people were waiting for a bed at hospitals in the first seven months of the year.
The HSE’s own target aims to have everyone aged 75 and older either discharged or admitted within 24 hours of registration at an emergency department.
Fianna Fáil Health Spokesperson Billy Kelleher says its pathetic.
He said: “It’s not acceptable that so many older and more vulnerable people should have to endure such long waits in Emergency Departments.
“Frankly a target of 24 hours is pathetic in itself and it is setting the bar way too low. International research suggests that there is an increase in adverse outcomes for patients who have been in an ED for more than four to six hours.”
He said that long waiting times should be an exception.
He said: “A 2012 HIQA report recommended that the total patient time spent in the emergency department should be less than six hours. This time should be measured from the time the patient arrives in the ED to the time of departure from the ED.
“The fact remains that the acute hospital budget is completely inadequate to meet patient demand. There are enormous capacity constraints and the continuing crisis in the Emergency Departments is having a knock-on effect on waiting lists for scheduled treatment.
“Yesterday the INMO reported more than 400 on trolleys nationwide – a very high figure for a Wednesday in August. The omens for the winter are not good and if the trend continues some 10,000 older people over 75 will have endured a wait of more than 24 hours in an Emergency Department before the year is out.”