The overcrowding situation at Sligo Regional Hospital is the worst in 20 years, according to a consultant at the hospital.
Fergal Hickey, Emergency Medicine consultant, said that it was “really worrying” that they had set new records for the number of people on trolleys in July, August and September.
“This is really worrying when we know that it is in the winter that the bed pressures are at their greatest.”
Referring to a recent situation at the hospital where people waiting at the emergency department who were less serious were advised to go home and come back in the morning, he said he was the doctor who made that announcement.
He said it was a Tuesday evening at around 8pm. “We were seeing people in all kinds of spaces: in the relatives’ room, the corridors, behind curtains. We were going as fast as we could and seeing as many patients as we could but we knew the number of people in the waiting room was such was that we were not going to get to them all.
“What I suggested was that if somebody felt that their problem was one that could wait until the morning, they would be better advised to come back in the morning rather than wait for many hours to get to the same point”, he told Ocean Fm.
“It was not something I had to do before and not something I would want to have to do again”, he said.
Mr Hickey said they needed to get to back to a point where it is unacceptable to have a patient wait on a trolley and pointed out that there were patients who died as a result of this experience.
“We know it is unsafe. We know that it is associated with increased mortality”, he said.