A total of 35 long-stay patients in St James’s Hospital have been discharged to nursing homes and community facilities under a Special Delivery Unit (SDU)-funded programme, the Medical Independent (MI) can reveal.
However, there are still 90 delayed discharge patients in the Dublin hospital “awaiting community accommodation”, a spokesperson has confirmed.
The transfers were facilitated as part of the SDU initiative to alleviate waiting times in emergency departments (EDs) by freeing up more beds.
Details of the funding initiative became clear in January, when this publication revealed that cash-strapped Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown was forced to pay for the discharge of longstay, elderly patients to nursing homes under the Fair Deal Scheme to make up for the shortfall of HSE funding.
Speaking to this publication in January, the HSE said, “the aim of this is to facilitate the discharge of patients waiting on Fair Deal approval prior to the approval being granted.
The patients in question have all the paper-work submitted and will receive Fair Deal approval within a relatively short timeframe”.
The Executive added that “it is not standard practice to do this, but a concerted programme of initiatives are being targeted at increasing bed capacity and facilitating patients experiencing excessive waiting times in the ED”.
Unlike Connolly Hospital, however, the HSE provided funding upfront for the programme, St James’s Hospital confirmed to MI in response to a Freedom of Information request.
“The funding was provided through the HSE and St James’s Hospital had no function in this matter,” the hospital said.