The HSE is coming under fire after latest figures showed revealed large numbers o trolleys in Mullingar Midlands Regional Hospital in the past two weeks.
The figures, collated by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Association (INMO), uncovered 36 patients on trolleys in the hospital's accident and emergency department between last Wednesday and Monday of this week.
A further 30 patients were adjudged to be on trolleys in wards.
As of this Wednesday morning, that number had decreased to 17 in total but is still regarded as significant.
The figures have predictably attracted scepticism from local politicians.
Fine Gael councillor Peggy Nolan said she was “very disappointed” but not overly surprised by the latest figures.
“For one of the top three hospitals in the country to have one of the worst trolley figures in the country since last September is not acceptable and is something I have been raising time and time again,” she stormed.
Cllr Nolan said HSE bosses had a ready-made solution within the confines of St Joseph's Care Centre in Longford town.
She said by opening a step-down facility on the Dublin Road campus, at least 20 beds would be freed up almost instantaneously.
“Everything is in place down there (St Joseph's) to do just that,” she said.
“It's not as if we need capital funding either, it's more operational funding that would be needed.
“It's a complete no brainer.”
Cllr Nolan also revealed she had planned on bringing Mullingar's trolley situation to the attention of HSE chiefs at a meeting scheduled for this week.
However, the Longford town based local representative claimed the meeting had been called off due to holiday commitments.
“It was cancelled because of a conflict of differences with people's diaries,” she added, stating however the meeting had been pencilled in over the next two to three weeks.
Besides the need to address hospital waiting numbers, Cllr Nolan said she, together with her Fine Gael colleagues, would also be pressing for an acquired brain injury unit to be located at St Joseph's.
“It would raise the profile of that campus so much if it came to pass,” she said.
“We just can't take no for an answer on this one.”