Tullamore hospital trolley figures spiral

ANNUAL Trolley Watch figures have confirmed a dramatic increase, year on year, in the number of patients on trolleys at Midlands Regional hospital, Tullamore between 2006 and 2011.

ANNUAL Trolley Watch figures have confirmed a dramatic increase, year on year, in the number of patients on trolleys at Midlands Regional hospital, Tullamore between 2006 and 2011.

According to annual analysis from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation [INMO], the figure in 2006 stood for the Tullamore hospital at 64 patients, decreasing in 2007 to 34, rising to 95 in 2008 while decreasing to 77 patients in 2009.

There was a significant increase in 2010 when the figure rose to 766 and continued to rise to 1,857 patients annually.

However, there was a welcome reduction for the Tullamore hospital with a slight decrease in the number of patients on trolleys during the month of December when compared to December 2010.

In this regard, the Executive Council acknowledged the efforts and initiatives, spearheaded by the Special Delivery Unit [SDU], in the Department of Health, in providing additional supports and resources to allow for this improvement.

The Executive Council is now calling upon the Minister for Health to further review the Annual Service Plan for 2012. This revision must allow the SDU continue this work with particular emphasis on protecting the earmarked funding, which allows for the opening of closed beds in some hospitals and additional community supports, which are due to end on February 29.

The survey results also confirm that there are now 2,229 public beds, acute and non acute, closed across the country of which 59 beds were closed at the Midlands Regional hospital, Tullamore. These figures are in light of a further 555 non acute beds will close in 2012.

Speaking on the annual survey results, INMO General Secretary Liam Doran said: “The INMO identified, in mid 2011, that the numbers on trolleys were at record levels and were now a daily reality in some hospitals that had previously avoided this indignity to patients. It is a reality that this level of overcrowding was a direct result of a combination of increased demand for treatment, bed closures, cutbacks in community services and difficulties with the Fair Deal scheme.

“Against, this very stark background the INMO welcomes the reduction, in patients on trolleys, in December. This reduction came about as a result of the opening of closed beds, ring fenced funding for some community supports and the prioritisation of this problem, by local management, under the direction of the new SDU. This work is welcome and must be continued throughout 2012.”