Westmeath Examiner

Published: Saturday, 23rd February, 2013 4:26pm

Health system better at managing demand – minister

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Evidence from the last 10 months proves that the health system is better at managing increased demand, the health minister has said in Dáil Éireann.“There was significant progress during the course of 2012 in reducing the number of patients waiting on trolleys, Dr James Reilly told Nicky McFadden TD.

“Over 2012 there were 20,352 less patients waiting on trolleys in comparison to 2011, representing an overall reduction of 23.6%.”Deputy McFadden had asked the minister for health about actions taken to tackle overcrowding and the use of trolleys in the emergency department at Midland Regional Hospital Mullingar, and the impact of those measures; and if he would make a statement on the matter.“Since before Christmas, hospitals have seen a significant increase in the number of very sick patients needing admission,” Minister Reilly continued.“The increase in norovirus in hospitals has been well publicised; we are also seeing high levels of admissions of frail elderly people, patients presenting with respiratory illness and of patients presenting with fractures. “However, evidence from the last year, and particularly over the last 10 months, has proved that the health system has the capacity to respond to these challenges more quickly and is better at managing increased demand.“The situation is being actively managed at a national level with an intensive work programme having begun between the SDU’s liaison officers, the Clinical Programmes and the hospital teams.

"The SDU is satisfied that hospitals are engaged in ensuring that emergency patients are seen in a timely manner, focusing on working to achieve the national targets for unscheduled care.

“I will have the information requested on each hospital sent out to the deputies as soon as possible.”

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