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Accident and Emergency Departments

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Minister for Health (Deputy Simon Harris)

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Snippet Contents:

Since the start of 2017 there have been approximately 5% less patients waiting on trolleys nationally compared to the same period last year.
As the Deputy will be aware, in September the HSE launched its ‘Winter Initiative Plan 2016-2017’ which provided €40 million of additional funding for winter preparedness.
A range of practical measures to address ED overcrowding were implemented, including 90 additional beds, aids and appliances for over 4,450 patients, around 1,000 extra homecare packages and 615 additional transitional care bed approvals. During the Winter Initiative, delayed discharges reduced from 638 in September 2016 to a low of 434 at the end of December and were maintained below 500 from mid-December through to end February. This had a positive impact on ED overcrowding and trolley numbers, in freeing up beds for use by patients awaiting admission to hospital.
My Department has also commenced a bed capacity review in line with the Programme for Government commitment. The intention is that this review will be broader than previous exercises that focused solely on acute bed capacity and will examine key elements of primary and community care infrastructure. This review will feed into the mid-term review of the capital programme. My Department and the HSE are committed to utilising the key learning from the Winter Initiative to develop a plan focused on working with hospitals to improve performance in relation to reducing the number of patients that have to wait on trolleys and the overall patient ED experience. This important work will provide a framework around the preparation of the 2017/2018 plans for Winter preparedness.