Varadkar: Insufficient effort to tackle hospital overcrowding

Situation in A&E ‘now considerably worse than this time last year or the year before’

The Minister said a number of measures had been put in place to tackle emergency department overcrowding since the start of the year.  Photograph: Getty Images

The Minister said a number of measures had been put in place to tackle emergency department overcrowding since the start of the year. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Efforts to tackle overcrowding in hospital emergency departments have not been enough, Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has said.

He said about 1,000 additional beds had been put into the system through the Fair Deal a nursing home places scheme, home packages and additional transitional care beds but this had not been sufficient to deal with the problem.

He said the situation in emergency departments was “now considerably worse than this time last year or the year before”.

Mr Varadkar said the health service would be “redoubling efforts” in the weeks ahead to deal with overcrowding. This would involve putting in place 175 additional community nursing unit beds and step- down beds.

Fair Deal waiting time

The Minister said a number of measures had been put in place to tackle emergency department overcrowding since the start of the year.

In January, 500 transitional care beds were funded in private nursing homes and a further 250 beds had been funded this month to assist in the discharge of patients from acute hospitals, he said.

Flu virus “[

A total of] 173 short-stay public beds are being opened across the country for a three- month period in response to potential additional admissions arising from the current flu virus.

“These include Cuan Ross in Dublin, with the first 10 opening next week; Fairview in Dublin; Farranlea Road in Cork; Galway; and Ballinasloe. [Some] 24 private nursing home beds will come on stream in Drogheda from next week.”

He said arrangements were in place in the HSE to recruit front-line staff where there was an urgent service requirement.

The day and night shift nursing numbers had increased in Beaumont Hospital, while 70 nursing posts had been agreed for the University of Limerick hospital group.

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