Hospital car park is "a goddamn disgrace"
by sue doherty
Bundoran Town Council is to send a deputation to meet with the management of Sligo General Hospital as a matter of urgency.
Cllr. Michael McMahon proposed the move at Tuesday's monthly council meeting, citing the shortage of beds and inadequate parking facilities at the hospital.
"I had occasion to visit the hospital in the last few days and it's a terrible situation there. It was appalling to see the amount of people who were on trolleys waiting for beds. It's unthinkable that, in the 21st century, patients aren't being treated better than that."
The HSE has confirmed that, as of Monday, there were 28 patients awaiting admission. A spokesperson said: "Sligo General Hospital's Emergency Department has been extremely busy during the week, with a high number of patients requiring admission. It was continues to be very busy this week. As a result, some elective admissions have been deferred. The presence of Norovirus (Winter Vomiting Bug) in a number of wards has contributed further to bed pressures.
"We would encourage the public to contact their GP or GP Out-of-Hours service in the first instance and not to attend the Emergency Department unless absolutely necessary. The hospital also asks GPs only to refer patients to the hospital who are in need of immediate assessment/admission.
Cllr. McMahon told the council meeting that more car parking is urgently needed at the hospital. "Something also has to be done about the parking there. People have to pay out €2.50 and then they're left circling the car park for ages, searching for an empty space, which, more often than not, they won't find."
Council Chairman Sean McEniff agreed wholeheartedly with the proposal. "I am on record as saying that the parking set up there is abominable. About two years ago, when I was a director of HSE West, I raised the issue. I had to attend Slgo with back problems and I met a man from Pettigo who had circled the car park for a full hour and hadn't found a space. There is additional land adjacent to the hospital and I proposed that this be developed as a car park. I don't know why it wasn't done because car parks are self-financing. I think it's a goddamn disgrace."
Council members agreed unanimously to formally request the deputation.
Cllr. McMahon suggested that it should be "an all-party group" as it was an issue that everyone agreed on. Council members also unanimously backed this suggestion.
In the last six months, the number of instances where more than 15 patients have been waiting on trolleys in Sligo General has grown significantly, with more than 16 occasions on which more than 15 people were waiting on trolleys were reported.