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ED is bursting at the seams

The emergency department at University Hospital Galway is bursting at the seams, with health chiefs moving to cancel some elective procedures due to overcrowding.

The hospital issued a warning this week that the ED was “under significant pressure” with nearly 400 patients presenting between Saturday and Sunday.

The level of demand was resulting in significant delays for patients seeking treatment at UHG, said a statement from the Saolta Hospitals Group.

“Due to pressures on the [UHG] site and the lack of bed capacity, the hospital is postponing some elective procedures. Urgent, time-sensitive cases are being prioritised. Patients are being contacted directly if their procedure is being postponed,” they said.

Numbers on trolleys at the hospital surged this week, with 72 patients awaiting the allocation of an inpatient bed on Monday according to figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

The INMO put that figure at 49 on Tuesday, while the HSE’s own figures on Wednesday suggested that there was a total of 37 patients on trolleys, 25 of whom were in the ED.

Surge capacity, whereby temporary beds are brought into action deal with increased admissions, was in operation and some 27 patients were in those beds.

A total of 33 beds, according to the HSE figures for Wedensday, were occupied by ‘delayed transfer of care’ patients – those who are ready for discharge or transfer but remain in the hospital.

Twelve patients had been waiting for a bed for more than 24 hours, and four of them were aged 75 years or over.

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