The serious level of overcrowding at South Tipperary General Hospital was highlighted at a meeting of South Tipperary County Council.
The meeting was told of “inhumane” conditions that you would not see in a third world country as members described the overcrowding that exists at the Emergency Department in Clonmel.
Councillors spoke of the huge respect they had for surgeon Peter Murchan and his team who were doing exceptional work in trying to keep services in operation at the hospital despite a budget shortfall and a significant shortfall in staffing resources.
Cllr. Darren Ryan said understaffing was a massive issue at the hospital.
He described a situation where twenty four people were on trolleys in a corridor outside the ED extending out to the vending machines in the main foyer.
He said there were not enough screens for people and one elderly man was given a urinal bottle and expected to use it with no screen surrounding his bed situated in the public corridor.
There were no blankets for some people and one woman had to use her cardigan as a blanket.
“You would not see it in the Third World,” said Cllr. Ryan.
Cllr. Siobhan Ambrose said it was shocking to hear of so many people on beds in the corridors at the hospital which created huge problems, particularly for the elderly, regarding privacy. Such a situation could not be allowed continue. It was inhumane to see routine procedures like the taking of bloods having to be carried out in a corridor.
Cllr. Richie Molloy said people were now afraid to present themselves to ED because they knew that it would involve a stay on a trolley in a corridor.
Cllr. Sylvia Sheehan Cooney said the nurses were run ragged at the hospital. There were not enough doctors on duty to sign off on patients which led to a build up on the corridors.
She wanted the CEO of the HSE to come to a meeting and explain why the proper staffing levels were not in place in the hospital.
Cllr. Sean McCarthy said Mr. Murchan and the staff were keeping the hospital open despite the enormous difficulties that arise from the understaffing that exists.