Tuesday 19 September 2017

Minister pledged to cut the need for admissions this winter

There was a focus on flu vaccinations in 2016. Stock Image
There was a focus on flu vaccinations in 2016. Stock Image
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

The Winter Initiative is a plan by the Government to try to reduce the need for admissions to hospital, and provide timely access and discharge in cases where it is necessary.

It was implemented with a specific view to the anticipated surge in hospital activity at this time of year.

At its launch last September, Health Minister Simon Harris pledged that he would be "closely monitoring progress to ensure that the expected improvements will be achieved".

"I have requested a weekly update report," he added.

The HSE said: "One of the key objectives is to reduce the numbers of people waiting to be discharged from hospitals and who require specific supports and pathways to do so. In achieving this objective, the capacity of the acute hospital system will be improved and in turn the patient experience in the Emergency Departments and the wider hospital system will also be improved."

Among the actions taken was the provision of an additional 950 home care packages, targeting 10 hospitals. This was on top of the funded level of service of 109 a week.

A transitional bed is used in cases where a patient no longer needs acute hospital care, but can't go home either.

Community intervention team services were also expanded under the initiative, to the benefit of 643 extra patients.

An additional 55 acute beds were provided for in 2016. There was also an increased focus on flu vaccinations, including for healthcare staff.

Irish Independent

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