A&E wait times have never been worse

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Wait times at Emergency Departments in the first quarter of this year, are the worst on record.

New figures from the HSE show the average patient waited nearly 13 hours before being admitted to hospital – up from 11.2 hours pre-pandemic.

The data, shows people attending Tallaght University Hospital in the first quarter of the year waited on average 24 and half hours from registering as a patient to being admitted to a ward – the longest wait in the country.

Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Connolly Hospital Emily O’Connor says many people without a GP end up in A&E because they don’t have an alternative:

“If I work in West Dublin, we have a lot of new Irish who haven’t been linked in for years or generations to a primary care service. For many of them, trying to register as a new patient with a GP is problematic.”

For the CEO of the Irish Patients Association, Stephen McMahon, the issue is costing patients their lives ]

“There’s evidence to support the fact that 1 in 80 admissions that have been waiting more than 5 or 6 hours can actually result in a preventable fatality.”

Bibiana Savin from SAGE Advocacy says particular attention need to be paid to older people left waiting

“They need tailored support. If we plan for support for over 75s, everyone else will benefit from those supports as well.”

Less than one third of patients were seen within the HSE target of six hours.