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Accident and Emergency Departments

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Accident and Emergency Departments

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Senator


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Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar)

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Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar)

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Snippet Contents:

The Emergency Department Taskforce Implementation Group has met on a regular basis during 2015 and into 2016, and is due to meet on the 18th April 2016. The Group has been overseeing initiatives to address ED overcrowding and ED performance, particularly over this peak winter period.
During 2015, additional funding of €117 million was provided to the HSE to relieve ED overcrowding pressures. This funding has supported initiatives to expand hospital capacity with 358 additional beds opened or reopened, reduce the number of hospital attendances by expanding community intervention team services and increasing the availability of community hospitals, and support timely patient discharge from hospital by reducing the wait time for Fair Deal funding to no more than 4 weeks, providing additional transitional care places, public community beds and home care packages.
Since the beginning of 2016, the HSE has reported an increase in emergency department (ED) activity in comparison with the same period last year. Overall, there has been an increase of 7.5% in patient attendances. Despite sustained increase in attendances, the total year to date number of patients waiting on trolleys at 8am each morning shows a marginal increase of 1%.
In preparation for the expected surge in demand for emergency care, which usually arises around the Easter period, Hospital Groups, in conjunction with Community Healthcare Organisations, put in place preparedness plans for the holiday period. Measures implemented included optimising discharges in advance of the weekends, strengthening the senior decision making presence at wards and in Emergency Departments, increased diagnostics at the weekends and securing staff to open overflow areas. As a result of these measures, the ED performance over the Easter period was favourable compared with 2015.