Health Minister highlights nationwide improvement in Emergency Department overcrowding

Health Minister highlights nationwide improvement in Emergency Department overcrowding

The number of patients on trolleys in the first five months of the year was down 14 per cent compared to the same period last year, meaning 7,800 fewer patients were waiting on trolleys for a hospital bed.

That's according to information presented by Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, to Cabinet today.

He says the fall happened even though 62,000 more patients presented to Emergency Departments (EDs) compared to last year.

Minister Donnelly  updated Cabinet with information showing significant reductions in trolley numbers, as measured daily by the HSE in most hospitals.


Among the hospitals showing the biggest reduction in patients on trolleys were:

  • Mullingar Hospital down 63%

  • St Luke's Hospital in Kilkenny down 55%

  • Mayo University Hospital down 45%

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    Portiuncula Hospital in Galway down 40%

  • Tipperary University Hospital down 37%

Minister Donnelly said:

“I want to pay tribute to staff in emergency departments, and throughout hospitals and community services who have contributed to this improved performance, despite a large increase in the number of patients presenting to emergency departments.

“Trolley numbers also fell last year. Our goal is to ensure all patients can access beds when they need them. This has already happened in some hospitals, including University Hospital Waterford and the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore. There have been no patients on trolleys in Waterford for years and Tullamore has had no patients on trolleys to date this year. We are making real progress, although we have more to do.”

Minister Donnelly, added:

“We have delivered an unprecedented increase in funding of our health service over the last four years, and there is now more staff and more hospital beds than ever before. These additional staff and beds are having an impact, as are the increased number of senior decision makers working evenings and weekends. Weekend discharges increased by 23% this year.

“We are also seeing better operational grip across the HSE and better management at individual hospitals which can be seen in the improved performance at these hospitals. This has led to better patient flow. The number of delayed transfers of care has fallen considerably, although we need to see even more progress.

“This is a great tribute to the hard work and dedication of hospital and community staff who have worked together to ensure patients get timely treatment and assessment and, as a result, receive the most appropriate care to meet their needs.”

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