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Written Answers - Hospital Services

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 569.  Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary  asked the Minister for Health Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly  the conditions attached to the Special Delivery Unit funding available for funding of step-down facilities private community nursing homes for patients at University College Hospital Galway; if he will confirm if only nursing homes in Galway are eligible for inclusion in the scheme; if so, the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16384/12]

Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): Information on James Reilly Zoom on James Reilly The health sector is facing significant funding challenges this year because of the economic crisis and the need to put public finances on a sustainable basis. However as Minister for Health I am determined that the impact on services must be minimised by relentless performance management, by best practice and by reform in how services are delivered. This will apply in all settings and services and for those delivering those services.

Towards the end of 2011 Galway was identified as one of eight hospitals that required very high support by the Special Delivery Unit (SDU) in relation to trolley waits. Based on proposals received from the hospital I agreed that additional funding would be provided, on a strictly once off basis, to help reduce ED waiting times over November and December 2011. The funding was to provide for initiatives which would help address issues, such as delayed discharges, which have a significant impact on the numbers of patients waiting on trolleys. This was done on the basis that the hospital/HSE would continue any measures necessary to alleviate trolley waits in January. There was no indication to SDU as to the location of nursing homes under consideration by University College Hospital Galway for the purpose of convalescence / interim care. Some €349,000 was approved in respect of Galway to address trolley waits at the hospital and to implement three initiatives that had been identified by the hospital as being key to alleviating the conditions in the emergency department at the hospital over the period.

Over €4.8m was made available to 16 hospitals throughout the country for specific planned outcomes. Funding released was specific to the immediate mobilisation of these initiatives and could be withdrawn or reclaimed if the hospital did not comply with:

[946] 7 day ward/discharge rounds

achievement of Acute Medicine Programme milestones

targets in respect of trolley waiting times and numbers of patients on trolleys

effective streaming of elderly patients

In addition, the SDU established a process of collecting numbers waiting on trolleys in each Hospital ED on a daily basis at three specific times and rating each hospital as Green, Amber or Red. To date, the initiative has worked well nationally with trolley numbers significantly down on the same period last year. The systems remains in a state of high alert to ensure that overall capacity, both surgical and medical, is carefully managed.

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