Over 3000 people left Emergency Department in Lourdes Hospital without being treated

Dundalk TD Ruairí Ó Murchú has this week published data from the HSE which shows that 3111 patients left the emergency department at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda in the first five months of the year without being seen, compared to 1764 for the same period in 2019.

The Sinn Féin TD said that this is caused by extremely long emergency department waiting times of 10.5 hours on average so far this year at the Lourdes.

And Deputy Ó Murchú called on the Minister for Health to urgently review emergency department capacity at Our Lady of Lourdes and to invest in community-based alternatives such as out-of-hours GP and late-night pharmacies.
He said that, ultimately, ‘more beds and staff are needed at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital to reduce waiting times, as well as a significant increase in GP capacity.

Deputy Ó Murchú said: ‘These figures show that 3111 patients left emergency departments without being seen from January to May this year, in comparison to 1764 for the same period in 2019. Waiting times in the Lourdes’ ED have increased from 9.2 in 2022 to 10.5 so far this year, which is driving patients to leave without being treated.
‘The high number of patients leaving EDs without being seen is highly concerning. Patients are attending emergency departments because they are in need of care and have nowhere else to go.

‘Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have brought the health service to its knees, with waiting times worse than ever. GP practices are bursting at the seams and it is proving more difficult than ever to get onto a GP register in Dundalk at the moment, ultimately putting more pressure on the Lourdes.
‘Hospitals are grappling with a lost decade of underinvestment. This is heaping more pressure on emergency departments.

‘Tackling the crisis in our hospitals should be a priority for Government, but they have failed at every step. They have not made the investments in beds and staffing that are needed.
‘Young graduates continue to emigrate in their droves. Meanwhile, there are record levels of spending on outsourcing to the private sector instead of building public capacity.

‘The Minister for Health needs to get to grips with this crisis. We need an urgent review of emergency department capacity, and ultimately, we need more beds and staff for the Lourdes Hospital.
“Sinn Féin would ramp up training places to increase staffing in hospitals, in the community, and in general practice to reduce the pressures on emergency departments.

‘We would engage with healthcare workers and address the cost of living and housing crises to increase worker retention. We would invest in expanding hospital capacity on a consistent, multi-annual basis, as outlined in our Alternative Budgets, to tackle overcrowding in emergency departments.

‘The key to this does not just lie within the hospitals, where incredible work is being done by medical and care staff, particularly in the Lourdes. CHO8 also has to step up here and provide more care in the community, at an earlier point in people’s illnesses, so that people don’t have to go to the ED as a last resort and they have to be properly resourced by government to do that’.

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