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Accident and Emergency Departments

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Accident and Emergency Departments

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Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris)

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Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris)

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Snippet Contents:

The Minister for Health convened the Emergency Department Taskforce (EDTF) in December 2014 to provide focus and momentum in dealing with the challenges presented by ED overcrowding. The EDTF Implementation Group has met on a regular basis during 2015 and into 2016; most recently on the 30th May 2016. The Group has been overseeing initiatives to address ED overcrowding and ED performance.
Over the 2015/2016 winter period, the ED Taskforce Implementation Group played a key role in monitoring ED performance and ensuring a coordinated approach across Primary, Acute and Social Care to addressing ED wait times. This concerted and coordinated effort has had an impact; despite a sustained increase in ED attendances (5.6%), trolley performance has been favourable to date this year in comparison with the same period last year.
Reflecting the wide range of experience and perspectives represented on the Taskforce, the resulting EDTF Action Plan, published in April 2015, sets out 87 recommendations to optimise existing hospital and community capacity, develop internal capability and process improvement and improve leadership, governance, planning and oversight.
The 87 Recommendations have been re-categorised in terms of priority and their current status. The Action Plan forms the basis by which the Implementation Group, in a structured way, tracks progress on actions that will have real and measurable benefits in improving ED performance and patient experience.
The work of the EDTF Implementation group has been supplemented by the Special Delivery Unit, or SDU, which was established in 2011, also to tackle ED overcrowding. Its recent focus has been on unscheduled care, in particular with a focus on adherence to the ‘National Escalation Directive’ (designed to streamline hospital responses to surges in demand for unscheduled care) and the implementation of the EDTF recommendations.
Review Phase site visits to all acute hospitals are almost complete; findings will inform the EDTF and a 2016-18 Winter Initiative to reduce overcrowding in EDs.