ED trolley crisis returns

The HSE says it is taking action to deal with an upsurge in hospital emergency department trolley numbers in recent days.

The number of patients waiting in EDs for admission to hospital is on the upsurge after recent Department of Health initiatives led to a drop in trolley waits last year.

Meanwhile, emergency medicine consultants have slammed the Government and the HSE for not doing enough to reduce ED trolley numbers.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) reported yesterday that there were 385 patients on trolleys nationally. This included 38 at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.

The HSE, in a statement, said much of the recent increase in trolley numbers is down to more people suffering from flu, the winter vomiting bug and other seasonal illnesses common at this time of year.

The health executive said measures being put in place included increased ward rounds, deferral of planned surgery, cutting down on delays in getting tests done on ED patients, allocating more doctors to some EDs, and providing extra beds where necessary.

However, the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine (IAEM), which represents emergency medicine specialists, has hit out at the Government and the HSE and has claimed last year's reduction in trolley numbers did not represent real progress in eliminating the problem.

The IAEM pointed out that Health Minister James Reilly's promise that the scandal of patients waiting on trolleys in EDs would have ceased by the end of 2012 had not materialised.

It said the 'repeatedly trumpeted improvement' of a 20% reduction in trolley numbers fromn 2011-2012 cannot be seen as representing real progress.

The IAEM claimed the HSE had showed a lack of concern for the significant numbers of patients still on trolleys.

It stressed that research had shown that ED overcrowding led to avoidable patient deaths.

The IAEM said those on trolleys today could be forgiven for asking whether this major public health issue was being taken seriously by those responsible for managing our health service.

 

 

[Posted: Thu 10/01/2013]

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