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"Crisis" overcrowding at Letterkenny University Hospital 06.01.17

THE IRISH Nurses and Midwives' Organisation (INMO) has called on the HSE to make contact with health authorities in the North for assistance in dealing with "chronic overcrowding" at Letterkenny University Hospital.
There are 30 patients waiting for beds at the hospital today, a slight improvement on the 46 patients awaiting admission yesterday.
Letterkenny has the third highest number of patients on trolleys nationwide today along with Tipperary (30). Limerick (41 patients) has the highest followed by Galway (31 patients).
A further 14 patients have been discharged by consultants but step-down services are currently unavailable, the nurses' union said.
INMO industrial relations officer Maura Hickey confirmed that the Emergency Department National Escalation Policy had been applied in Letterkenny with management opening three escalation areas to house some of these patients. Others are being nursed in treatment rooms or on ward corridors.
Some day services work has been cancelled while elective procedures in theatres have been cancelled. Nursing staff in the Day Services Unit are looking after patients in the overflow escalation areas. The INMO said the situation had "progressively worsened over the past month".
Meanwhile, the nurses' union said it had learned that there are over 14 patients in the hospital who have been clinically discharged, to other services, which are unavailable at this time. GP and self-referrals to the ED continue to be high, it noted.
Meanwhile, the hospital has seen an increase of 10% in attendance at the Emergency Department.
Ms Hickey said: “This volume of overcrowding in Letterkenny University Hospital is not sustainable and cannot be allowed to continue. It is imperative that additional bed capacity (in both acute and continuing care) and extra home help and home care packages are provided, with full funding, immediately, to ease this crisis situation.
“This is such a crisis, the INMO is also calling on HSE management to immediately engage with neighbouring health services, including in Northern Ireland, to see what additional capacity it can supply in the interests of patient care.”
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