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Over 1700 left CUH’s emergency dept without being seen – so far this year

August 31st, 2023 7:30 PM

By Southern Star Team

Over 1700 left CUH’s emergency dept without being seen – so far this year Image

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A TOTAL of 1,742 patients left the CUH emergency department (ED) without being seen in the first five months of 2023, according to Sinn Féin election candidate Clare O’Callaghan in Cork South West.

Ms O’Callaghan this week published data from the HSE showing the jump in figures, compared with 1,279 in 2019.

O’Callaghan said the rise in figures was being caused by extremely long emergency department waiting times of 16.8 hours on average so far this year at the CUH.

The candidate called on the Minister for Health to urgently review ED capacity at the hospital and to invest in community-based alternatives such as out-of-hours GP and late-night pharmacies. Ms O’Callaghan said that, ultimately, more beds and staff are needed at the CUH to reduce waiting times, as well as a significant increase in GP capacity.

She said the high number of patients leaving emergency departments without being seen is highly concerning. ‘Patients are attending emergency departments because they are in need of urgent care and have nowhere else to go. Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have brought the health service to its knees, with waiting times worse than ever. GP practices are bursting at the seams. Hospitals are grappling with a lost decade of underinvestment. This is heaping more pressure on emergency departments,’ she said.

She added that tackling the crisis in our hospitals should be a priority for the government. ‘But they have failed at every step. They have not made the investments in beds and staffing that are needed. Young graduates continue to emigrate in their droves. Meanwhile, there are record levels of spending on outsourcing to the private sector instead of building public capacity.’

‘We need an urgent review of emergency department capacity, and ultimately, we need more beds and staff for the CUH,’ she said. ‘Sinn Féin would ramp up training places to increase staffing in hospitals, in the community, and in general practice to reduce the pressures on emergency departments. We would engage with healthcare workers and address the cost-of-living and housing crises to increase worker retention.

‘We would invest in expanding hospital capacity on a consistent, multi-annual basis, as outlined in our alternative budgets, to tackle overcrowding in emergency departments,’ she added.

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