Thursday, 2nd April 2015
- €74 million initiative is now being implemented to tackle delayed discharges and Emergency Department overcrowding.
Overcrowding in our hospitals is a major problem and though the situation has improved since January, the number of people on trollies is far too high. The Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar has taken action through the Emergency Department Task Force and the HSE is now implementing measures to provide more nursing home placements which will free up acute hospital beds and make more community, convalesce and district hospital beds available.
Based on the Task Force’s Action Plan €44 million will be allocated to the Nursing Homes Support Scheme, which will provide an additional 1,600 places and reduce the waiting time for approved applicants from 11 weeks now to the previous norm of 4 week for the rest of the year.
Yesterday 200 places were released with formal letters of approval issuing from the nursing home offices. Phone calls will be made today for the next 200, with formal letters following once the nursing home of choice is agreed. The remaining 500 people will have formal letters of approval issued before next weekend.
Once all of these people are allocated a place, the waiting list will be reduced to a 4 week period. The next phase will be to wind down of the transitional care beds, approved to deal with the winter surge.
€30 million will cover the cost of additional transitional care beds until June and additional community, convalescence and district hospital beds on a permanent basis, both of which facilitate more rapid discharge from hospital.
The temporary transitional beds currently in use to address overcrowding will be replaced by sustainable, more cost-effective beds under the Fair Deal scheme.
All of these measure will have a positive impact on people accessing Emergency Department and patients who are eager to be discharged to more permanent homes. Reducing the level of delayed discharges and the wait for Fair Deal places in a meaningful way will improve significantly the situation in many hospitals.
I commend Minister Varadkar for the action he has taken in tackling this long standing issue and his determination to continue to reform the health service. The Emergency Department Taskforce was convened last December to develop sustainable long-term solutions to ED overcrowding and their action plan published today’s outlines a serious of decisive actions that will tackle overcrowding in the future.
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