Four Inishowen Alzheimer's beds
592 patients treated on
trolleys in Letterkenny in 2011
by Linda McGrory
FOUR beds remain closed at Inishowen's €2.7m
Alzheimer’s unit in Carndonagh, new figures show.
The Ard Aoibheann centre, attached to Carndonagh
Community Hospital, only opened five years ago but
has already lost four patient places due to cutbacks
in the health service. The beds were closed in 2010
- just three years after the unit was officially
opened to great fanfare by the then Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern in March 2007.
The 2011 figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives'
Organisation (INMO) published yesterday, also show
eight bed closures at Letterkenny Hospital and 20
care of the elderly bed closures at Lifford
Hospital. There were 2,299 closed beds nationally as
of yesterday, according to the INMO.
Meanwhile, a total of 592 patients were treated on
trolleys at Letterkenny General Hospital last year.
While this represented a sharp increase on the
previous three years namely (388 in 2008); (378 in
2009) and (474 in 2010), it was a dramatic drop on
the Letterkenny figures for 2006 and 2007 at 3,059
and 1,253 trolley waits respectively. Thirty-eight
people were treated on trolleys last month in
Letterkenny, a slight fall on December 2010 (42).
There were three patients waiting for a hospital bed
yesterday in Letterkenny, the daily nurses' survey
Letterkenny General Hospital
The INMO yesterday said
its trolley watch survey for 2011 confirmed it was
the worst year for patients on trolleys since the
organisation commenced maintaining records in 2004.
The figures confirm that 86,481 patients who had
been admitted to hospital, were left on a trolley
waiting for a hospital bed. This represents an
increase of 14% over the 2010 figure of 75,859.
INMO general secretary Liam Doran said the INMO
identified, in mid 2011, that the numbers on
trolleys were at record levels and were now "a daily
reality in some hospitals".
"It is a reality that this level of overcrowding was
as a direct result of a combination of increased
demand for treatment, bed closures, cutbacks in
community services and difficulties with the Fair
"Against this very stark background the INMO
welcomes the reduction in patients on trolleys in
December. This reduction came about as a result of
the opening of closed beds, ring fenced funding for
some community supports and the prioritisation of
this problem, by local management, under the
direction of the new Special Delivery Unit. This
work is welcome and must be continued throughout
2012,” said Mr Doran.