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Long waits at Mercy Hospital and Cork University Hospital Emergency Departments ‘alarming’ – Pat Buckley TD

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Sinn Féin TD for Cork East Pat Buckley has said that new figures obtained by the party expose an alarming number of patients are waiting more than 24 hours for care at both the Merch Hospital and Cork University Hospital Emergency Departments.

The figures were obtained by Sinn Féin from the HSE and suggest that hospital overcrowding is on track to return to pre-pandemic levels this year.

Teachta Buckley said that much more must be done to ensure that patients at the Mercy Hospital and Cork University Hospital received high quality and timely care without these delays.

Teachta Buckley said:

“Sinn Féin has obtained new figures from the HSE that expose an alarming number of people have been left waiting for more than 24 hours to be seen at both the Mercy Hospital and University Hopital Emergency Department. Behind every number is a patient who needed timely care and was left to wait for far too long.

“The pain and distress caused by these delays is considerable. People attend emergency departments because they require urgent care. This scandal is happening because of process and leadership failures across the health service.

“Let me be clear, the staff at the Mercy Hospital and University Hospital Cork are doing an incredible job, working under pressure to do their very best to serve our community. But they are being let down by a lack of funding, planning and leadership by the government.

“According to the data Sinn Féin has received from the HSE, Emergency Department overcrowding is set to be as severe this year as it was before the pandemic.

“We need an urgent zero tolerance plan for Emergency Department overcrowding and long waits led by the Minister for Health.

“There is no single solution. We need capacity put in where it is needed, but just as importantly, essential Sláintecare reforms need to be advanced quickly.

“To respond to the challenge, reducing Emergency Department waits has to be seen as part of wider reform efforts. It can only be tackled by investing in community and GP capacity to reduce hospital admissions. A minimalist approach to healthcare reform will not work.

“Regional Health Areas need to get up and running with significant autonomy to implement community reforms, deliver capacity expansions, recruit and retain staff, and implement best practice across sites in patient and staff management.

“Every patient should have a discharge plan with a recovery bed in a community setting. Patients should be out of hospital quickly, not left languishing on trolleys in random ward corners and corridors. 

“Crucially, we need to roll out specialist medical wards and fill the vacant consultant posts.

“A specific plan is needed for the Mercy Hospital and University Hospital Cork. The Minister must lead from the front. Staff at these emergency departments are working day and night to look after our community, but they aren’t getting the support they need from government. Patients also deserve better and I will continue to raise this with the government until the changes needed are delivered.”

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