HSE bosses work on plan to avoid pile-up of trol­leys

Pri­vate hos­pi­tals will help keep ser­vices go­ing at Christ­mas

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - News -

PLANS to keep peo­ple away from hospi­tal in a bid to avoid a pile-up of trol­leys over the crunch Christ­mas pe­riod are be­ing worked on by the HSE.

Pri­vate hos­pi­tals will also be used to keep reg­u­lar di­ag­nos­tic ser­vices go­ing dur­ing the pinch pe­riod in or­der to avoid peo­ple taking up beds longer than nec­es­sary.

This year’s so-called ‘win­ter plan’ which deals with the four weeks from mid-December to early Jan­uary comes ahead of what ex­perts fear will be the worst hospi­tal cri­sis in years.

Last year there were 2,408 pa­tients counted on trol­leys in the first week of the year.

In an ef­fort to avoid ex­ceed­ing those num­bers, there will be extended open­ing hours and ser­vices at lo­cal mi­nor in­jury units and in some pri- mary care cen­tres in a bid to keep peo­ple away from A&E over the busy pe­riod.

How­ever, the health ser­vice will also be forced to rely on pri­vate hos­pi­tals in its at­tempt to keep chaos in A&Es at bay.

Pri­vate providers will be used to en­sure ac­cess to di­ag­nos­tic ser­vices, which it is hoped will avoid peo­ple taking up hospi­tal beds un­nec­es­sar­ily and also for in pa­tient beds for post-trauma surgery pa­tients and step-down pa­tients.

GPs will also have in­creased ac­cess to di­ag­nos­tics over the busy pe­riod.

Last week, Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar drew ire for his com­ments on staffing lev­els over the Christ­mas pe­riod in hos­pi­tals, but he has dou­bled down on his po­si­tion in re­la­tion to keeping ser­vices open.

Com­mu­nity hospi­tal groups have also been asked to pro­vide de­tails on plans for Christ­mas, in­clud­ing staffing ca­pac­ity and ros­ters and their prepa­ra­tions for flu out­breaks and es­ca­la­tion plans.

The win­ter plan — which is due to be signed off in the com­ing days — also in­cludes so-called “win­ter ready” clin­ics in com­mu­ni­ties where flu jabs and gen­eral check-ups will be pro­vided for older peo­ple and other groups con­sid­ered to be at risk.

A fund­ing in­jec­tion of €10m has been pro­vided for win­ter plan­ning.

Ar­range­ments from last year, in­clud­ing at­tempts to expedite home-care and Fair Deal ap­pli­ca­tions, will also be res­ur­rected this year.

The push to clamp down on de­layed dis­charges comes as new fig­ures show the slow place of pro­cess­ing Fair Deal ap­pli­ca­tions caused more than 114,000 hospi­tal bed days to be lost last year.

New anal­y­sis of HSE fig­ures shows that al­most two-thirds of peo­ple whose hospi­tal dis­charge is de­layed are wait­ing to be moved to a nurs­ing home.

The new anal­y­sis, from Nurs­ing Home Ire­land (NHI), shows de­lays dis­charg­ing the el­derly or in­firm from hos­pi­tals into nurs­ing home care led to 114,371 hospi­tal bed days be­ing lost na­tion­wide in 2017. It said more than 1,200 units are avail­able in nurs­ing homes na­tion­wide at any one time, but de­lays are pre­vent­ing peo­ple ac­cess­ing them in a timely man­ner.

The anal­y­sis also shows a drop in the num­bers be­ing sup­ported by Fair Deal, which is thought to be down to a trend of peo­ple pre­sent­ing with com­plex needs.

A spokes­woman for the HSE said ap­proval for Fair Deal takes four weeks.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.