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Dáil committee considers ‘elective’ hospitals

Committee members are discussing the possibility of each Hospital Group having a hospital or hospitals designated purely for elective work.

The Committee is charged with agreeing an all-party 10-year plan for the future of healthcare. It is due to publish its final report next month.

GP and Committee member Dr Michael Harty TD (Independent) told the Medical Independent (MI):  “What’s happening in our hospital system is that the casualty is overflowing with patients. Those patients then overflow into wards and into elective beds, so elective lists are cancelled. Consequently our lists are getting longer and longer. In the winter, you just wonder, how much elective work is done in our hospitals?

“So one of the ideas that we [Committee] have is that there should be an elective hospital in each Group purely for elective work and that would protect those beds from being swamped by A&E.”

Dr Harty said this idea has been pursued in Scotland. “So you could have doctors who work purely in an elective situation, but ideally you may have teams of doctors who will work in an elective hospital for a certain period; a week or month, or three months.

“So everybody’s skills are honed to the specialty that they are in. But they also have a commitment to providing acute care in the acute hospital.”

Dr Harty also said he hoped that changes to the governance of the HSE, and the legislation required for this area, would “be a substantial part of one of the chapters” of the final report.

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