Last week 93 patients spent the night on a trolley in Portiuncula University Hospital, Ballinasloe, “which is at least in part due to the failure to provide 12 new isolation beds that were to be opened last April” says local TD Denis Naughten.
“Even though it is one of the smaller acute hospitals, in the last week Portiuncula has become the 7th most overcrowded hospital in the country,” said Denis Naughten.
“This level of overcrowding is as a direct result of the hospital losing 10% of its beds due to bed closures to meet Covid requirements.
“To address this shortfall the Department of Health, this time last year, approved Covid funding to provide 12 new isolation beds at Portiuncula which were to be delivered by last April.
“However, the latest estimates I have received from the HSE state that these 12 beds will not be available until June 2022. That means that we have to wait 26 months after losing beds before we will have any replacements, which leaves Portiuncula in a desperate situation at present.
“On top of this, plans to have a separate stream for Covid patients coming into A&E has not been approved by the HSE which adds to the risk to both staff and patients of contracting Covid in such an overcrowded emergency department.
“With the current surge in Covid infection we clearly need a specific and urgent strategy at Portiuncula Hospital to protect those who rely on this important hospital across the midlands and West of Ireland as well as staff working in the hospital,” concluded Denis Naughten.