The absence of available acute hospital beds has directly contributed to overcrowding in EDs, it claims.
The criticism came as the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation recorded 387 patients on trolleys yesterday. “Instead of addressing the root cause of the current worsening of emergency department crowding, the response of the Department of Health and HSE to the matter proves just how dysfunctional Irish healthcare is,” the IAEM says.
“Instead of reducing the number of delayed discharges of so-called bed blockers by ensuring that community care packages are appropriately funded, the latest HSE ‘solution’ is to deem some of these patients as ‘trespassers’ with the expectation that clinical staff will remove them from their beds and the hospital. This is completely bizarre and suggests those running the HSE have completely lost touch with reality.”
The IAEM was also critical of plans at Galway University Hospital to tackle ED overcrowding by “partitioning parts of the waiting room to warehouse even more patients”, adding: “It is high time that the citizens of Ireland and their public representatives asked why our current and most recent governments have so systematically and deliberately failed to address the underlying problem.”
The HSE, however, said it was fully committed to its winter initiative plan 2016 which include the addition of 55 acute beds at Midlands Regional Hospital, Beaumont Hospital, Naas General Hospital, and University Hospital Waterford, as well as 18 step-down beds at the Mercy University Hospital in Cork.