An independent review has found 'unsafe' and 'unacceptable' treatment of patients at nine hospitals around the country.
The Independent Review of Unplanned Care was carried out in 2018 – 2019; however, it was never published.
It has now been released to the Irish Patients Association (IPA) on foot of a Freedom of Information request.
The report finds that at least half of patients spent at least one night in the Emergency Department on a trolley before either getting a bed of being discharged.
In one hospital it found patients spending up to 10 nights on trolleys.
The report, carried out by former RCSI president Professor Frank Keane, finds that hospital staff did not always know who was in charge.
It warns that at times, “there was no clear understanding of who was providing the care” to patients.
It also notes that wards often contained patients with a range of illnesses – meaning doctors and nurses were constantly moving around the building to access their patients.
The report makes 30 recommendations – including bringing the practice of placing trolleys on wards to an end.
In a statement, IPA founder Stephen McMahon said it took the group 17 months to get sight of the report.
He said there is a “hear no evil, see no evil” culture at the top of the HSE that is leading to systemic failures in emergency care.
“Patients everywhere in Ireland deserve better, much better, performance,” he said. “We can all play an important role in bringing real reform to our health services.”
“We continue to have massive overcrowding n our emergency Departments costing lives and impacting on timely access to care for these awaiting operations. How many patients have been impacted by the delay in publishing and fully implementing the recommendations in the Keane Report?”
The HSE said it decided not to publish the report in 2020 because the COVID pandemic meant it was no longer relevant.
The Department of Health then agreed to release it to the IPA.
The hospitals involved in the review were Naas General, Tallaght University Hospital, the Midland Regional Tullamore, the Mater, Cork University Hospital, University Hospital Limerick, University Hospital Waterford, St Vincent’s University Hospital and Galway University Hospital.