Units should have treated over 80% of A&E patients

Up to 83% of patients who came to the overburdened Emergency Department of University Hospital Limerick on one day last month could have been more appropriately seen at various assessment units within the four-hospital UHL Group, a study has found.

The study was carried out on September 11 when 171 people were seen at the hospital’s ED department at UHL in Dooradoyle.

Prof Paul Finucane, chief academic officer, ULH Group said: “We looked at patients admitted over a 24-hour period on that day. We had 171 patients who came to the ED over that period. Of those we estimated that 17% need to be in the ED and the other 83% in theory could have been sorted out elsewhere if the facilities were available.

For example if all three medical assessment units — the acute assessment unit, the surgical assessment unit, the local injuries unit — and the rapid access and out patient clinics, if all these were operating at peak efficiency, then theoretically 83% of all those who presented at the ED that day could have been seen elsewhere (within the hospital group).”

Prof Finucane said work is continuing on the development of these assessment units to reduce the ED workload. These units would allow for patients to be treated without undue delay and allow them home sooner.

Prof Finucane was speaking at the unveiling of a Winter Resillience Plan to improve treatment times for ED patients over the coming winter months.

Prof Colette Cowan, CEO UL Hospitals Group said 54 more beds are coming onstream, 30 of which are new and 24 from a ward which had closed for refurbishment.

A new isolation ward is to open next month at the new five-storey Leben Building and it will have five in-patient isolation beds for patients with Cystic Fibrosis.


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