Ambulances queueing outside the ED at Midlands Regional Hospital Mullingar

Ambulance patients wait four hours for ED transfer

Patients brought to Midlands Regional Hospital Mullingar by ambulance on Monday had to wait up to four hours to be admitted to the hospital's Emergency Department.

According to reports, at one stage there were up to seven ambulances waiting to transfer patients into the hospital's ED.

Speaking to the Westmeath Examiner, Cllr Hazel Smyth, who raised the issue with the HSE at the Regional Health Forum meeting this week, said that the long waiting times for admittance to the ED caused “massive concerns for people”.

“I did get a response back (from the HSE) saying that measures were put in place to dealt with the unusual increase in activity there at the A&E. I would hate to see this become a regular occurrence, particularly because if someone arrives at the hospital in an ambulance it's an emergency situation and they need to be seen immediately.

“If my loved one was in ambulance I'd be very annoyed if they were left there waiting for four hours or more to be seen. It's just not good enough.”

While acknowledging the great work done by staff in the ED and the wider hospital, Cllr Smyth says that “we need and deserve a better service”.

“I know that work is afoot on a new acute Acute Medical Assessment Unit at the hospital and other capital investment projects are taking place, but in the interim we have to make sure that appropriate measures are put in place to deal with spikes in the number of people attending the A&E. Fundamentally, this is the duty of the HSE to make sure that appropriate services are provided.

“I did meet with hospital management last summer to discuss why there are constantly messages issued about the A&E being very busy. I understand that the messages are part of the hospital's escalation mode but when they are issued this frequently something needs to be done to deal with capacity issues there.”

When contacted by the Westmeath Examiner, MRH Mullingar issued this statement:

Regional Hospital Mullingar experienced an exceptionally busy period during the afternoon and evening of Monday 17th April 2023. Unusually high numbers of patients attended the Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) during this time-frame. Immediate measures were implemented included opening of additional space for the assessment of patients and additional staff from other areas were deployed to provide assistance.

During this period hospital management were in close liaison with the National Ambulance Service Control.

The Hospital remains very busy today. If you require emergency care, please contact 999/112 or attend the ED in Regional Hospital Mullingar.

We would like to remind the public that, patients who are over 16 years with the following injuries may wish to present to the Regional Hospital Mullingar Minor Injury Unit located at Charter Medical Private Hospital in Ballinderry, Mullingar:

Suspected broken bones to arm (from collar bone to fingertip)

Suspected broken bones in legs (from knees to toes)

Sprains and strains

Wounds, bites (animal or insect) cuts, grazes and scalp laceration

Minor burns and scalds

Foreign bodies

Minor chest injuries