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UHL trolley crisis-“It’s like a war zone”

AS Wednesday morning broke there were 63 people waiting for treatment on trolleys at UHL.

Outside the beleaguered hospital’s front door some of those coming and going were happy to share their views and experiences of the region’s failing health system.

One man, who didn’t want to be named, has been at the hospital for several days with his 86 year old mother. “She came in on last Wednesday morning at 2am and she was on a trolley until Friday night. She got a bed then, but she has been moved a few times since, she got moved from a private ward to the hall, to a ward and now she’s moved again today.”

It is a very poor way to allow an elderly woman be treated, he says. “She has to be helped to the bathroom, she can’t do things herself. Her dignity is gone, she’s just thrown on a trolley and left there. She has to be helped off of that to be brought to the bathroom. It’s wrong, but they don’t seem to care.”

Health Minister Simon Harris has not delivered a functional accident and emergency service in the region, and the man who had seen his mother left on a trolley for the most of a week wasn’t happy with him. “He reckons he has it all sussed out, he’s getting it fixed, but there isn’t anything fixed in there. The staff in there are breaking their back, for nothing. The amount of people in there sick, very sick, and they’re just being thrown on hallways, onto corridors. It’s not right.”

Kilrush woman Mary Stephens was there with her husband, and while she wasn’t using the A&E services on the day, was familiar with the flawed system, her father having died in the hospital. “He had a major heart attack and he was left in casualty, he was dying in the end, we knew he was dying and I asked can you not move him somewhere? His whole family were around him, distraught. Eventually they found a bed and he died within minutes of getting to the bed.”

The continuing failure to deliver proper hospital services in the region is an ongoing disgrace, she feels. “It’s desperate, just crazy. You wouldn’t run a business like it, would you? And no one is ever held accountable for what goes on there. The poor people there, probably half of them there are really ill, it’s terrible.”

Seamus Seary was there with his wife, a 71 year old woman, who spent around 24 hours on a trolley before getting a bed on Tuesday night.

He actually feels things aren’t as bad as they once were, even if the standard still is not acceptable. “The new A&E has some semblance of order compared to the old one, which was a zoo. But overall it’s a disgrace that this is happening today.”

He feels that there isn’t the political or public will to change things. “Nobody wants to pay for anything, we don’t pay for our water or anything, and the Government haven’t got the courage to face issues and tell people that you don’t get anything for nothing.”

Tom Boland had been to see his granddaughter and while he said the paediatric side isn’t so bad, its apparent that there are serious problems. “There are a lot of elderly people there. Even for people working there it’s hard to pass through. It’s like a war zone, that’s the only way to describe it.”

Owen Ryan

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.