Up to 134 patients could have died due to unacceptable wait for hospital bed last month – Naughten

In Health, News, Posts by Topic by Denis Naughten

New figures show that up to 134 patients may have died as a result of being forced to wait more than six to eight hours for a hospital bed last month, which local TD Denis Naughten said “highlights the urgent need to take a new approach to the challenges within our health service”.

The figure of 134 patient deaths is based on the INMO figures that over 11,000 patients were waiting on trollies for a bed last month, taken in tandem with a study just published in the Emergency Medicine Journal which indicated that for every 82 people forced to wait more than six to eight hours for admittance to hospital there is one death above the expected mortality rate.

“On Wednesday morning my Regional Group colleagues and I  will move a motion in Dáil Éireann seeking to overhaul the delivery of pre-hospital emergency care services from better training for staff in schools and childcare facilities to an expanded role for paramedics, helping to reduce the numbers of patients attending Emergency Departments in the first instance, rather than just trying to manage the chaos we have all witnessed in our hospitals to date in 2023,” stated Denis Naughten.

“Demographics in Ireland are changing and I believe that healthcare needs to change as well. The recent spike in Emergency Department attendances and ongoing trolley numbers are a symptom of problems in several areas, from community health services to emergency services, all of which seem to culminate at emergency department doors.

“There are also delays in physically reaching the emergency department; the National Ambulance Service (NAS) has reported that they are not meeting their emergency response target times. In some regions these response times have increased by, on average, 10 minutes since 2019.

“Overall, pressures on the NAS are growing; nearly 2,000 calls to the service were received, per day, over December and January, an increase of 19% on the same period last year. In our Dáil motion, we are seeking investment in terms of staff, equipment and more backup for community health services.

“Any delay in accessing treatment has an impact, both on survival rates for the patient and for the level of care needed in the hospital setting. For example, for every minute that elapses after a cardiac arrest, a person’s chance of survival decreases by 7-10% and for every minute that stroke treatment is delayed, a person loses two million brain cells, highlighting the need for faster emergency medical response times, especially in the most serious of cases.”

The Regional Group has highlighted the areas which need urgent action including:

  • Provision of more resources for the NAS and recruitment of 1,000 additional staff.
  • Restructuring of the paramedic function.
  • More supports for paediatric first-aid training in childcare.
  • Establishment and maintenance of a national register of working AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators).
  • Availability of basic first-aid equipment (esp. working AEDs) and medicine (aspirin, adrenaline injectors) in the community.
  • Establishment and maintenance of a national first responder register.


Contact Denis Naughten TD 086 170 8800


Notes to the editor: 

The Regional Group Motion will be debated on Wednesday the 1st of March at 10am. The motion is available here https://dailbusiness.oir.ie/motions/964?lang=en