I wish to acknowledge the distress overcrowded Emergency Departments cause to patients, their families, and frontline staff working in very challenging working conditions in hospitals throughout the country.
The hospital system is currently operating at close to full capacity. The number of patients attending Emergency Departments continues to increase year on year, with approximately 1.3 million attendances in 2018, up 3.5% on 2017. For the first four months of 2019, the number of patients attending hospital EDs increased by 6.5%, and the number of ED admissions increased by 4.4% compared to the same period last year. This reflects increasing demand for unscheduled care.
According to the latest validated figures available, 12,896 people attended the ED in Mayo University Hospital from January to April this year. This represents a 2% increase compared to the same period in 2018 when 12,640 people attended the ED in Mayo University Hospital. However, while there was a 3.7% increase in attendances nationally from the over 75 age group between January and April 2019, Mayo University Hospital saw a decrease of 7.3% in attendances for the this age group compared to the same period in 2018.