On Wednesday afternoon, a statement was issued on behalf of Ireland East Hospital Group, describing how Wexford General Hospital was “extremely busy” and advising “significant delays and long waiting times”. A common statement used whenever the hospital is under great pressure, it doesn’t tell the full story of what was happening at the emergency department in Wexford on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The hose who were present described the “chaotic” scenes. One said it was “like a battlefield”, while another described scenes of hospital porters waiting to see if they really needed their wheelchairs as there was not a single trolley available. The reason was not enough to turn around.
An eyewitness said, “It was completely over. The nurse told me not a single trolley was available, let alone a bed. People were being warned to wait at least 12 hours . It was one. Shattered.”
Although advice from stressed and overly stressed staff prevented people from asking to go home, it was made abundantly clear to many in the waiting room that if they chose to stay, they would have to spend 12 hours in a hard chair. and this estimate was later increased to 16 hours.
In a packed emergency department, a hospital employee commented that it was the worst situation they had seen. There was some grudge against the GP and the practice of “sending people to A&E for a second opinion”, and in a statement issued by Ireland East Hospital Group, hospital management urged people to “consider all car options, including GPs, GPs”. Was urged out of hours and pharmacy services”.
However, overall the statement failed to capture the level of what happened at Wexford’s emergency department earlier this week, stating that “like all hospitals across the country … the emergency department is extremely busy”. .
It continued that this was due to patients being admitted with both covid and non-covid diseases. At 8 p.m. Wednesday, Wexford General reported 22 confirmed cases of the virus at the site.
A senior consultant at the hospital said the problem was limited to numbers only.
“The number of patients we are seeing is incredible,” he said. “We are seeing an increase of up to 20% over pre-pandemic levels. Even in Wexford, we see a sharp increase in numbers in the summer months, as people come on holidays and so on.
“That’s the massive amount of patients we’re dealing with, but then every hospital is like that at the moment.”
While Covid is nowhere near the issue it was at its peak, its impact is still clearly being felt and staff shortages as a result of isolation and illness are adding to the problems.
The consultant said, “We would have had many staff sick even with Covid etc. Even if they were feeling well, they could not afford to treat unwell patients. This combined with the increase in patient numbers is a terrifying one. Combination.”
With summer finally approaching, there are concerns that once elementary school is over and more families travel to Wexford for their summer break, things will get worse before they get better.
“I don’t know,” said the adviser. “The number of patients coming to us will increase and many of them will have minor injuries and ailments. We are really struggling with the numbers.
“We’re losing a lot of GPs at the moment which adds to the pressures we’re seeing in ED. People can’t reach their GPs and they can’t get a caredoc, so they only have one option left with treatment.”
“There used to be an assumption that Wexford was a small emergency department. We are now a large ED, seeing over 40,000 patients a year.”
Where about 15 years ago the ED was busy with 80 or 90 patients a day, nowadays doctors and nurses can see up to 190.
“Quite simply, we need more acute beds. I know there are plans for a new wing etc., but at the moment, there are not enough beds in the hospital,” the advisor said.
While members of the public are still being urged to consider all other possible care options before arriving at the emergency department, hospital management insists that they should be taken to the hospital with a suspected heart attack, stroke or any other serious condition. There should be no delay in arriving. medical problem and should call 999 or 112 immediately.