IAEM notes results of recent Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission Inquiry on ED Crowding and demands urgent action here
The recent Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission Inquiry confirmed that individual patients had suffered experiences that breached human rights. It is of major concern and mirrors the experience of many patients who attend Irish Emergency Departments (EDs). Patients in the Republic of Ireland who are obliged to remain on hospital trolleys for extended periods of time have equally suffered an infringement of their human rights and have been subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment. It is particularly concerning that the problem has got progressively worse over the last decade and although many promises have been made to address the issue neither the Department of Health nor the HSE have improved the lot for admitted hospital in-patients who languish in EDs.
In each generation Ireland has regarded some of its citizens as not being entitled to the same rights as other citizens. Public inquiries over recent years have confirmed this pattern and have been highly critical of Ireland’s treatment of those condemned to orphanages, Magdalene laundries and other institutions where individual human rights were not respected. The Association believes that it is only a matter of time before Irish society is forced to acknowledge that those patients in EDs who are forced to spend prolonged periods of time waiting on trolleys for the basic right of an acute hospital bed and who experience unnecessary death or poorer medical outcomes as a result have equally been denied their basic human rights. In spite of the superhuman efforts of medical, nursing and support staff working in Ireland’s EDs, the situation is allowed to worsen and the risks to patients continue in spite of a multitude of reports, taskforces and promises.
The HIQA Portlaoise Report found management culpable for knowingly allowing patient safety risks to continue. Senior HSE management and the Department of Health must resolve this patient safety and human rights issue before their inactivity causes further patients serious harm or death.