4% of A&E patients waited 48 hours or more in 2021 to be admitted, a survey by the HSE and Health Information and Quality Authority has found.
10,743 people gave feedback on their experience of the health service and overall patients scored their care in hospital as 7.5 out of 10 on average.
However, appraisals of Accident & Emergency were particularly poor - with only 29% of patients seen with the six hour target.
The news comes just days after the Irish Nurses and Midwives Association reported the highest number of patients waiting on hospital trolleys ever - with 126 people without a bed on 21st April at University Hospital Limerick.
It is an issue that Health Minister Stephen Donnelly says he hopes to prioritise:
“I’m in the middle of a very intensive round of talks and actions with the HSE,” Minister Donnelly told Newstalk.
“To make sure we’re putting in place, not just a national plan for emergency departments, but to go hospital by hospital to identify what the challenges are and what extra supports are needed in each hospital.
“Because it’s different right around the country.”
Furthermore, it is not just A&E patients who have had to endure long waits for hospital treatment; breast cancer patient, Mary, called Lunchtime Live to reveal that she has previously had to endure a wait of over eight hours for her course of chemotherapy:
“From October to December I was in [hospital] every two weeks,” she said.
“You’d normally go in about half nine, 10 in the morning; I was getting the voluntary driver service with the Irish Cancer Society… So I was being brought into the hospital and then the driver would kind of wait around and then he or she’d collect me at the end of the day.
“So on a good day you’d be in at half nine, 10. You’d be out of there maybe let’s say two or three o’clock, home by four or five.
“But it got particularly bad January, February and I noticed that but maybe it’s because I was in every week… but also I was in [for] a different type of chemotherapy - which just took a bit longer to administer.
“But there was one particular day… which was just a disaster. I went in at half nine and by half five I was still waiting to go into the chemo ward.
“And I wasn’t alone, there would have been five or six other women on that particular day with me and when we went in that day everyone was obviously up in arms.”
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Things were so bad that she almost felt afraid to go to the toilet in case she missed her slot.
In the end, Mary wrote an email to complain and the hospital said that the delays were caused by staff falling ill with COVID.
“It’s just very, very difficult to be getting chemo every week or every two weeks but be left waiting for potentially sometimes 10 hours,” she concluded.
“And you’re just wondering, ‘What the hell is going on?’”
Main image: A sign for accident and emergency.