Tuesday, 6 February 1996
Dáil Éireann Debate
87. Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Health the number of patients left on trolleys in the accident/emergency ward at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin on the night of 29/30 January 1996 before being eventually given beds; the average number of patients left in these circumstances each night in the hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2322/96]
 The number of patients in the accident and emergency department awaiting admission can vary considerably depending on the overall workload of the hospital at any given time. However, it has been estimated that since early October 1995 the number of patients per day diagnosed in need of admission and waiting more that six hours for a bed was nine.
The accident and emergency department of Beaumont provides a 24 hour service. Because of the nature of the work, it is not possible to predict the workload of hospital accident and emergency departments at any particular time. At all times, however, priority is accorded to those patients most in need of immediate medical attention. Because of the unpredictable nature of the workload which may present, it can happen that on occasion patients must be placed in temporary accommodation pending the avilability of more appropriate beds. I can assure the Deputy that every effort is made to keep this practice to a minimum. In addition, funding has been provided to Beaumont Hospital to develop a 12 bed observation ward adjacent to the accident and emergency department.
All patients, while in the accident and emergency department, are under the care of medical and nursing staff. The hospital ensures that patients are made as comfortable as possible and this includes the provision of food to patients while they are awaiting a hospital bed.
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