A total of €30 million in ‘once-off’ funding for unscheduled care was made available by the HSE towards the end of 2017 for its winter initiative.
Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin; Temple Street Children’s University Hospital; and the National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght, submitted plans to the HSE as part of a request for winter initiative funding.
In a letter to Mr Liam Woods and National Director of the National Ambulance Service and Emergency Management Mr Damien McCallion on 22 November, Ms Eilish Hardiman said she was very disappointed the HSE was failing to address winter pressures in the three children’s hospitals.
“We submitted well thought-out plans, not costing a lot of funding, but we do not seem to have been allocated any funding from this additional allocation for winter pressures,” Ms Hardiman wrote.
“This is unacceptable, as we have children on trollies waiting over 24 hours in our EDs [emergency departments] for admission and today, we are on our third black escalation in recent weeks. The three children’s hospitals work very hard to transfer acute admissions across the city to manage ED pressures but to not have any funding allocated from this €30 million is unacceptable.”
A spokesperson for the HSE told <strong><em>MI</em></strong> that a total of €177,648 was eventually provided to Temple Street to cope with ‘surge’/‘exceptional’ measures’ and was to be spent by the end of 2017.
“Unfortunately, given that applications for funding exceed the available funding, the CHG did not receive any additional allocation of ongoing funding,” they added.
In her letter, Ms Hardiman said she had already informed the Acute Hospital Division that the INMO was seeking additional data from CHG nurses about trolley waits in their EDs, which would be the “next new media story on unscheduled care”.
Her prediction proved accurate — the INMO subsequently launched its ‘Paediatric Trolley Watch’, and the first two weeks of January saw 73 children on trolleys in the three children’s hospitals.