emergency | 

Mayo University Hospital warns of long wait times after 170 patients arrive at ED

The hospital said this was a 30 per cent higher attendance rate than average, which put services under severe pressure

TD tells Leo Varadkar of dying OAP's agonising wait on trolley in Portiuncula Hospital

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

Mayo University Hospital has issued a warning of long wait times at the Emergency Department today after more than 170 patient arrived for treatment yesterday.

The hospital said this was a 30 per cent higher attendance rate than average, which put services under severe pressure.

In a tweet this afternoon, the Saolta University Health Care Group, which comprises hospitals in Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Ballinasloe, Letterkenny and Sligo said Mayo University Hospital is extremely busy today with long wait times at the Emergency Department.

“Yesterday, over 170 patients attended the ED which is a 30% higher attendance rate than average,” they tweeted.

“Our apologies to patients and their families for the upset the delays are causing

In an earlier statement to Midland Radio, the hospital said that the high number of people attending the ED who need to be admitted for ongoing treatment had put pressure on bed availability.

“This is resulting in significant delays being experienced by patients in the Emergency Department who are waiting for a bed to become available on a ward,” the statement reads.

“There are currently a very high number of patients on trolleys in ED awaiting admission to in-patient beds.

All available beds are in use. Every effort is being made to discharge patients who are ready and safe to go home so that beds will become available for patients who need to be admitted, at the earliest opportunity.”

The hospital added that it is committed to treating everyone who presents at the Emergency Department.

“People who are seriously injured or ill are assessed and treated as a priority and those who do not require urgent care may be waiting longer,” they added.

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They also requested that people consider other options for non-emergency care such as Out of Hours GP and pharmacies before attending an ED.

Meanwhile, in Dublin, Tallaght University Hospital has activated its Full Capacity Protocol as it said it is experiencing a very high number of attendances at its emergency department.

The protocol includes a range of measures including placing extra patients in other areas of the hospital, including wards.

Dublin's Beaumont Hospital

The hospital said it is committed to treating everyone who presents to the emergency department but does so strictly in order of medical priority.

It said that given the volume of patients attending the department, it regretted there are lengthy delays and long wait times for those who do not need urgent treatment.

Yesterday, the emergency department at Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital was described as like “a war zone”, with “no locks on toilet doors” and “no food”, according to one recent patient.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, was unable to get an appointment with her GP after trying for two weeks.

On the advice of D-Doc, she presented at Beaumont Hospital on Dublin’s northside at 9pm last Friday night, April 28.

After a 15-hour wait on a plastic chair in a “prefab area”, she was diagnosed with a gut infection and given antibiotics. She left the hospital at 12pm on Saturday, April 29.


“The word that springs to mind the most is a war zone. That sounds dramatic, but it felt like that. It’s a tent, kind of like a prefab area before you get to wait in A&E,” she said.

“I’m luckily young and relatively healthy, I’ve never really had to go into hospital before this. I consider myself lucky after seeing what goes on there.

“I wasn’t prepared for what I experienced first-hand. The wait was one of the worst parts, it was at least 12 to 16 hours and longer if you needed to be kept in.

The Dublin woman said “staff were working hard, but they were limited”. Because of this, “a lot of people decided to go home”.

“One man said there was no dignity in this and left,” she said.

“I got there at about 9pm on Friday night and I didn’t leave until 12pm the next day. I got seen at about 11.30am. When you get seen it’s so quick, then you’re out.

“Nobody came to check on anyone. I understand that nurses and doctors were held up. What if somebody took a turn if you were there alone?

“Nobody came to see if anyone had deteriorated or not, we were told to go and ask for painkillers if we wanted some. But if you’re not well enough to do that, what happens?” she added.

Yesterday, it was revealed that more than 10,000 patients spent time waiting on trolleys during the month of April.

According to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) TrolleyWatch, figures show that a total of 10,119 patients were admitted to hospital without a bed, including 297 children under the age of 16.

This is an increase of 1,402 when compared with the same period last year.

The top five most overcrowded hospitals in April were University Hospital Limerick with 1,596 patients, Cork University Hospital with 1,256, University Hospital Galway with 827, St Vincent’s University Hospital with 647 and Tallaght University Hospital with 642.

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