Over 90,000 hospital beds lost through delayed discharges

On average over 15,000 bed days lost each month in hospitals in first six months of 2017

Billy Kelleher of Fianna Fáil says the reason hundreds of patients are lying on trolleys in emergency departments or in wards is directly related to the number of bed days lost in the system. Photograph: Alan Betson

Billy Kelleher of Fianna Fáil says the reason hundreds of patients are lying on trolleys in emergency departments or in wards is directly related to the number of bed days lost in the system. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

More than 90,000 hospital bed days have been lost through delayed discharges in the first half of this year.

Patients are classified as delayed discharges when they no longer need to be cared for in an acute hospital setting but have no access to appropriate step down care.

On average more than 15,000 bed days were lost each month in hospitals in the first six months of the year.

The number fluctuated from 13,105 in February to 16,699 in April, according to HSE figures provided to Fianna Fáil health spokesman Billy Kelleher.

“To lose over 90,000 bed days when there are over 86,000 people waiting for treatment is not only unacceptable. From both a resource and patient care point of view, these lost bed days are unjustifiable,” he said.

“It is further evidence that the level of support being provided to mainly older patients is simply not good enough. We know that across the State, there are too few step-down beds in the health system and that home supports remain inadequate,” he added.

Mr Kelleher said the reason hundreds of patients were lying on trolleys in emergency departments or in wards was directly related to the number of bed days lost in the system. “If a fraction of these lost days were put back into use every day through better supports for older people upon discharge, we could radically reduce the number of people lying on trolleys,” he said.