Plan for 55 additional acute beds 'a disappointment to staff and patients'

Plan for 55 additional acute beds 'a disappointment to staff and patients'

Emergency department staff have said a HSE plan to add 55 acute beds in five hospitals are a disappoinment.

The HSE Executive's Winter Initiative will provide for 55 extra acute beds at five hospitals across the country which are experiencing severe overcrowding.

The hospitals are the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore, Beaumont Hospital, Naas General Hospital, University Hospital Waterford and in the Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar.

Eighteen step-down beds are also being provided for the Mercy University Hospital Cork.

The Irish Association for Emergency Medicine said that, given 1,600 beds were lost from the system during recent years, the addition of 55 this year is a "drop in the ocean".

The 55 extra beds are in addition to 300 added last year.

Spokesperson with the IAEM and Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Sligo University Hospital Dr Fergal Hickey said: "We welcome anything that will bring about any improvement, but this is decidedly unambitious and will not make any significant difference.

"It's a disappointment to all of us who work in emergency departments, but particularly to the patients languishing on trolleys in increasingly large numbers."

The plan, due to come into effect in the October-November period, says overcrowding cannot exceed 236 patients on any single day and delayed discharges must not exceed 500.

An extra 950 home-care packages will also be provided.


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