05 January 2017

Labour spokesperson on Health, Alan Kelly TD, has outlined six proposals aimed at tackling the current crisis in Ireland’s A and E departments.

It comes ahead of a meeting between Minister Harris and the head of the HSE, later today.

Deputy Kelly has proposed:

1. Opening beds in Model 2 hospitals. Making better use of minor injury units, and to change protocols.

2. Using private hospital A&Es immediately.

3. Opening step down facilities across the country.

4. Ensuring all GPs are in full practice, and put in place protocols to measure the number of referrals to A&Es and reason for referrals.

5. To make greater use of nursing homes for elderly patients.

6. Using greater transport mechanisms to get non-critical patients transferred from Model 1 hospitals to other facilities, thereby freeing up beds in most important hospitals.

Deputy Kelly continued:

“The time has come to take concrete action to address the chronic issue of overcrowding in our hospitals, and I have proposed six measures aimed at doing just that.

“When Minister Harris meets with the HSE today, it is critical he ensures that all available bed capacity is made available immediately, including access to private facilities.

“Yesterday I called on the Minister to recognise the national emergency facing our hospitals, and I welcome that the Public Health Emergency Team met last night.

“Meetings won’t solve the hell facing patients in our A&Es but as I have outlined, there are concrete actions the HSE and Minister Harris can take.

“For months I have raised with the Minister the need for adequate planning to address the crisis now engulfing our hospitals. This crisis was predicted in October when I asked Minister Harris to access private A&E facilities.

“Bureaucracy should not be allowed to hold up my proposal that spare capacity in private hospitals be used to alleviate overcrowding.

“Reports today that ambulances are being delayed at hospitals while waiting to deliver patients to Emergency Departments are deeply worrying.

“The figures show that the crisis is particularly concentrated outside Dublin, in the Midlands, South and West, with major problems in Limerick, Tipperary, Galway, Cork and Offaly.

“Extra resources to address the A&E crisis could also be targeted at minor assessment units and greater support for doctor-on call services.

“However, the key is increasing bed capacity in our regional and community hospitals, and that should be the Minister’s core objective today.”


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