Hospital set to be ‘saturated’ with patients

IRELAND’S largest hospital is expected to be saturated with delayed-discharge patients within months.

This is because the Health Serivice Executive (HSE) only responds when the bed situation becomes desperate, according to a doctor at the hospital.

Dr Bernard Silke, a physician at St James’s Hospital in Dublin said a decision by the HSE to fund 100 new, long-stay community beds had reduced pressure but by autumn the hospital would be “saturated” again.

He said it required 400 long-stay beds every year but the HSE traditionally funded such beds only when the situation was desperate.

In an interview with the Irish Medical Times Dr Silke also suggested nursing home costs were the main cause of delayed-discharge patients in Dublin.

“There is increasingly a feeling of entitlement among patients that the State should cover all costs of subvention,” he said.

A spokesman for the hospital said 85 delayed-discharged patients had been placed in long-term facilities in the past month.

He said this had helped address needs of patients waiting in A&E. He claimed the average number of patients waiting for beds in the A&E at 8am had been reduced to about two.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital said the provision of 69 long-stay community beds by the HSE had allowed the hospital to release 22 delayed-discharge patients. It was also using St Joseph’s Hospital as a rehabilitation unit for patients who can return home. The spokesperson said the situation had eased the number of patients on trolleys in A&E awaiting admission. There were 10 on Monday.

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