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The report, which contained a number of recommendations to ease overcrowding in acute hospitals, was developed by the Department of Health and the HSE, in association with relevant stakeholders.
“It is hindered by a mix of inadequate resources, increased activity levels, and I have to say, a continued reticence to change work practices in hospitals to recognise the daily crisis that is emergency departments,” according to Mr Liam Doran, who is also General Secretary to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO).
He pointed out that the number of ED attendances has increased by over five per cent this year, which is above the statistical norm, and has therefore proved difficult to manage. The increase in frail elderly patients is posing a particular challenge.
The number of patients on trolleys has decreased in Dublin, but it has increased in other parts of the country, he said.
While Mr Doran acknowledged progress on the major recommendations in the Taskforce report, such as allowing for weekend discharge through changing work practices, has not occurred, he still sees a role for the implementation group.
He does not believe the recent development of weekly meetings between Minister for Health Simon Harris and the HSE are a replacement for the work of the group.
“With respect, the Minister can meet every day with HSE senior management, he can meet twice a day with HSE senior management, that is not going to change what happens on the frontline,” Mr Doran argued.
“It is only when the system engages on the Taskforce recommendations, not in Dublin, not in Dr Steevens’ Hospital or Hawkins House, but everyday, all day, in each acute hospital that we will see a change.”
The next meeting of the implementation group is scheduled for 5 December.
See investigation on pages 4-5.