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Tension between specialties as activity levels increase

The President of the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine (IAEM) Dr Emily O’Conor has admitted to “tensions” between specialties over space as activity levels in hospitals continue to rise.

Speaking last month to the Medical Independent (MI), Dr O’Conor outlined her concern that it was unclear how emergency departments (EDs) and hospitals would
cope with the increase in patient attendances, which had declined in the early months of the
Covid-19 pandemic.

“There is tension happening in many hospitals at the moment between specialties that are trying to deliver scheduled care, and want their space back, and emergency medicine, which still needs that space so we can socially distance and isolate patients,” she told MI.

Dr O’Conor, who is Consultant in Emergency Medicine in Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, said a key reason that EDs coped over the last number of months was because attendances had declined.

“We were given extra space and resources to look after those patients that did come,” she said.

“Attendances now are back up to normal or almost normal and hospitals are also trying to resume scheduled care. There is lots of discussion going on at the moment, and challenges, but there’s isn’t a clear implementation roadmap yet as to how we are going to manage capacity-wise in the coming months.”

In early May, the IAEM developed a series of recommendations to make EDs safe within the context of the pandemic.

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