Ambulances logjam leaves patients stuck

Eight ambulances queued up outside UHG last week waiting to transfer patients at the height of the overcrowding in ED.

Galway City Tribune – Eight ambulances were lined up outside University Hospital Galway (UHG) one day last week waiting for the backlog in the Emergency Department to clear so that they could hand over injured or ill patients.

In 2017, UHG was blacklisted as having the worst ambulance turnaround times of any hospital in the country, and that trend continued on Wednesday as the ED suffered severe overcrowding.

Staff at the hospital have told the Galway City Tribune that ambulances spent hours delayed at UHG’s ED last week while waiting to hand over patients for treatment.

They say the overcrowding is putting lives at risk, and is stretching ambulance resources to the limit.

At one point on Wednesday, as the overcrowding crisis reached its peak, eight ambulance crews were parked outside the ED waiting to transfer patients for treatment in the hospital.

“The Emergency Department was severely overcrowded and ambulances were delayed. Ambulance crews were putting in 15-hour shifts, and at one stage there were eight emergency ambulances outside the ED. Nursing staff are trying to do their best. This has been happening all week. Extra ambulance crews have been drafted in on overtime to try and help. There was no sign of hospital management,” said one staff member who wished to remain anonymous.

Representatives of the hospital said the impact of the severe weather the previous week was having a knock-on impact on services.

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