Skip to main content


Log in

Delayed hospital discharges and the trolley crisis

  • Original Article
  • Published:
Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -) Aims and scope Submit manuscript


We audited use of acute hospital beds in Connolly Hospital over a 3-month period (January–March 2020) which coincided with increased provision of step-down (nursing home) beds. Our results show both ineffective and inefficient baseline uses of these acute beds. Increased step-down beds improve patient care by reducing the trolley count, shortening average length of stay and reducing waiting lists. These data confirm that more step-down beds are a high priority for our Health Service to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our hospitals i.e. better care at less cost.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. John A, Breen DP, Ghafar A, Burke CM (2004) Bed usage in a Dublin teaching hospital: a prospective audit. Ir J Med Sci 173(3):126–128

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Tormey W (2004) The impact of inpatient bed mismanagement on the Irish Health Service. Ir J Med Sci 173(3):124

  3. Ackroyd-Stolarz S, Read Guernsey J, MacKinnion NJ, Kovacs G (2011) The association between a prolonged stay in the emergency department and adverse events in older patients admitted to hospital: a retrospective cohort study. BMJ Qual Saf 20(7):564–569

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Dinh MM, Arce CP, Berendsen Russell S, Bein KJ (2020) Predictors and in-hospital mortality associated with prolonged emergency department length of stay in New South Wales tertiary hospitals from 2017 to 2018. Emerg Med Australas 32(4):611–617

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Akhtar N, Kamran S, Singh R et al (2016) Prolonged stay of stroke patients in the Emergency Department may lead to an increased risk of complications, poor recovery and increased mortality. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis 25(3):672–678

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Nasr A, Reichardt K, Fitzgerald K et al (2004) Impact of emergency admissions on elective surgical workload. Ir J Med Sci 173(3):133–135

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Hutchinson A (2015) Ireland. In: Kringos DS, Boerma WGW, Hutchinson A, et al., editors. Building primary care in a changing Europe: European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies

  8. Hobbs FDR, Bankhead C, Mukhtar T et al (2016) Clinical workload in UK Primary Care: a retrospective analysis of 100,000,000 consultations in England, 2007–14 Lancet 387(10035):2323–2330



Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Conor Burke.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Burke, C., Dolan, E., Faul, J. et al. Delayed hospital discharges and the trolley crisis. Ir J Med Sci 192, 11–14 (2023).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: