Many of Ireland’s 28 Emergency Departments (EDs) have seen “record daily numbers of patients in the past few weeks” according to the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine (IAEM).
The IAEM said this has resulted in severe congestion and delays, particularly for those with less acute care needs.
“This sharp increase is occurring at a time when very few EDs have a fully functioning suite of ICT as a result of the cyberattack on the HSE in mid-May,” the Association said in a statement.
“This, in turn, is contributing to delays as many previously ICT-enabled processes continue to have to be performed manually or are being performed with significantly limited ICT functionality.”
The IAEM added that fact that the effects of the cyberattack are still so significant so long after the attack “is a reflection of the level of destruction the attack wreaked on the HSE’s ICT Infrastructure”.
The Association added that while many “might understandably” assume the problem had been resolved at this stage, “this is very far from the case”.
The Association added that “the capacity of EDs is finite and many are genuinely struggling to deal with the patient workload at the current time”.
“It is imperative therefore that steps are urgently taken to provide suitable but functional alternatives to ED referral, e.g. dedicated rapid access clinics in general medicine and surgery, for those patients where emergency medicine has nothing to offer.”