Surge to 541 patients waiting for hospital beds amid flu outbreak

HOSPITAL Accident and Emergency departments have seen the biggest surge in patients on trolleys so far this year – with 541 were left waiting for a bed.

The ominous rise in the trolley toll comes after the Government claimed a series of measures helped prevent the annual dangerous spike in overcrowding after New Year’s day.

But today’s gridlock shows this will be difficult to maintain as more elderly patients need to be hospitalised and hospitals cope with an increase in the numbers of people suffering from flu.

The figures came from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation who are meeting over two days to work out a plan for a series of work stoppages in pursuit of their campaign for pay increases.

The figures today show there were 392 waiting in hospital emergency departments and  149 were in wards elsewhere in the hospital.

The worst-hit hospitals today are:

*University Hospital Limerick – 44

*Letterkenny University Hospital – 36

*Cork University Hospital – 36

An additional 550 homecare packages have been  over the winter to ease the trolley crisis but they only benefit only nine hospitals.

These hospitals have been earmarked for more investment after an analysis of overcrowding and so-called bed blocking.

The extra homecare packages were designed to move as many patients who no longer need acute care back to their homes over the coming weeks.

Around 300 were be used in the run-up to Christmas to empty as many beds as possible.

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