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IAEM and IMO make statements on hospital capacity problems

It pointed out the news comes at the same time there is an ongoing daily struggle to have patients with significant brain injury needing emergency neurosurgical intervention admitted to Beaumont in a timely fashion.

“The Association fully recognises that investing in capacity is expensive, both from the capital expenditure and staffing perspectives; however, if we wish to achieve even the most basic requirement that a patient who requires hospital admission as an emergency is able to get a hospital bed in a timely fashion and doesn’t suffer the heightened risk of death or a worse medical outcome from languishing on a trolley then this nettle needs to be finally grasped,” according to a statement from the IAEM.

“This issue has been talked to death at this stage – the Minister for Health and the HSE need to finally set about solving it. Episodic allocations of funding will not solve the underlying problem, only increased bed capacity will.”

Also, the IMO has launched a campaign to highlight how the shortage of acute hospital bedsis causing chaos in the emergency departments of hospitals across the country. 

Emergency medicine consultant in Beaumont Hospital and Chairman of the IMO’s Consultant Committee Dr Peadar Gilligan said efforts to alleviate the problem, which do not focus on the shortage of acute beds were little more than political PR initiatives that would have little impact on the plight of patients.  

He said: “The emergency department crisis is a year-round crisis.  The notion of peaks in winter that require special attention is mistaken.  Throughout the summer, for example, Beaumont Hospital has had about 20 patients waiting for beds each day.  In other areas, the problems in Emergency Departments actually get worse during the summer as the local population swells with holiday-makers. 

Dr Gilligan said emergency department overcrowding will not only continue but is guaranteed to worsen as long as the Government refuse to fund additional public beds in hospitals: “The problem is actually quite simple.  Our population is rising and we have cut 1,600 public beds from our hospitals.  That goes back to an ill-fated decision in 2004 to reduce the number of acute public hospital beds.  We’re still paying a price for that.  Put those together and a crisis in our public hospitals is inevitable.  Any attempt to deal with the problem which doesn’t increase the bed count is PR led not evidence-based”.

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