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‘It’s totally unacceptable’: Over 650 children left on hospital trolleys so far this year

Erik G

SINN FÉIN TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh has described the significant increase in the number of children waiting on trolleys at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin (OLCHC) as “unacceptable and a disgrace”.

Information obtained by the TD through parliamentary questions revealed how the number has been steadily increasing year on year.

The number of children put on trolleys are:

  • 2013 – 147
  • 2014 – 502
  • 2015 – 603
  • 2016 – 949
  • 2017* (so far) – 666

Ó Snodaigh said the figures make for “scandalous” reading.

“There was a total number of 2,867 children who were placed on trolleys when seeking treatment at Our Lady’s Hospital A&E Unit from September 2013 to July of this year. This is a scandalous figure, particularly as the numbers rose consecutively with 2016’s total of 949 being the worse year recorded.

“However, this is likely to be surpassed in 2017 as of July there had been 666 children waiting on trolleys, meaning there is every possibility that by the year’s end well over a thousand children will have been left waiting on trolleys in the Crumlin Children’s Hospital.”

In a statement to TheJournal.ie, Crumlin Hospital said it regrets that any child has to wait for a bed in a ward but said it is planning for predicted surges in admissions coming into winter.

The statement read: “The Emergency Department at OLCHC sees over 38,000 patients per year. On average, 104 children are seen in a 24 hours period. Of this number, approximately 10-15 children require admission to the hospital per day. The hospital does its best to move patients to an inpatient bed as soon as possible.

The HSE’s Emergency Medicine Programme (EMP) states that children should receive their complete episode of care within 6 hours. In 2016, 82% of children received their complete episode of care within 6 hours in the ED at OLCHC.

“We have predictable surges in activity and have developed Winter planning initiatives to address these seasonal surges.”

The hospital added that accommodation is challenging due to the lack of single rooms, which may delay children accessing inpatient beds due to isolation requirements.

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