Forget About A Hospital Bed. Get Yourself A Trolley!

Do you enjoy those lovely spring and summer nature programmes like ‘Springwatch, Badgerwatch and Naturewatch and the like? So do I. They make you feel all warm and cosy and they bring the delights of nature right into your sitting room. But I’ve recently come across another ‘watch’ that may interest you.  Particularly if you have a loved one sitting alone in an Irish Hospital somewhere. This programme is called, ‘The INMO’s Trolley Watch.’ Unfortunately it’s not nearly as warm and cosy and is guaranteed to bring your blood pressure to levels that may just see you being included.

Now many of you would have heard of it as it can now be witnessed daily up and down the country as each hospital counts the numbers of poor unfortunates lying unattended in the hospital’s corridors on trolleys and who have more chance of receiving a blood transfusion from Keith Richards than getting a hospital bed. Everyday throughout the land this roll call goes on and it’s a practice that wouldn’t look out of place on the wards of the bomb ravaged hospitals of Aleppo.

But surely now is the time to just throw our hands up and admit that the situation is ungovernable, impossible, intractable and probably many other words ending n ‘ble’

As we all know once we approach the entrance to any supermarket or DIY store, or any other outlet which involves lots of walking along corridors and passageways, we usually take a euro from our pocket and withdraw one of the trolleys from the large, snake-like shape of intertwined steel on wheels.

Well the time has come folks for the introduction of human hospital trolleys to be placed outside every hospital in the land. At a euro a pop just think of the millions that each hospital will make not to mention our own cash savings as we won’t now be asked to cough up for another MRI machine whenever we’re called to spend thirty seconds with the very nice nurse in triage’.

It’s all very depressing because despite numerous Fine Gael electoral pledges to end the scandal of patients on trolleys, it is clear that they are nothing more than just that, electoral promises. Undoubtedly the same empty promises will be made again during this next bore-fest of an election. All I can hope is that the long suffering Irish electorate will remember the pledges constantly broken in the past.

And yet, almost invisibly, during the entire period that this disgrace has been allowed to continue, there has suddenly emerged an acceptable number of patients who can be treated in this despicable manner. Did anyone else notice that particular virus creeping onto the ward? No. And neither did I.

Yet my good friends here it is:

‘Across all hospitals a “national threshold” has been set which says no more than 236 people should be waiting on a trolley at 8am on a given day, according to the document drawn up by the hospitals division of the HSE’

  1. A nice number don’t you think. A real HSE number dreamt up by some overpaid secretarial grade during her toilet break. The number even looks official because it doesn’t contain a zero and that’s because we all know that nobody within the HSE or the Department of Health for that matter can actually spell the word ‘zero’. And so, unfortunately there will never be a target of ‘zero’ patients on hospital trolleys. In ten years’ time the acceptable number may well reduce from 236 to 235 but if you asked me to stick a fiver on it I’d say it’s more likely to be a couple of thousand.

And as for my future hospital use? Well I’ve already stolen a trolley from outside my local Aldi and am currently having it customised to include an en-suite and a waiting area for my family…..oh, and a doctor!!!


1st February 2016.