Monday 16 January 2017

Groundhog Day for patients as 'national emergency' still drags on 10 years later

Published 08/01/2016 | 02:30

Cartoonist: Scratch
Cartoonist: Scratch

It's Groundhog Day for the thousands of patients left waiting in our country's emergency departments this week. There is a slight improvement, year on year, on numbers presenting to EDs and needing admission to hospital in the last few weeks. But the numbers are way too high and nowhere near where Minister Leo Varadkar wanted them weeks ahead of the next general election.

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Fifteen years ago, when the 2001 health strategy was being prepared, more than 1,500 people responded to a public consultation for the strategy. Emergency departments (EDs) (then called A&Es) received by far the highest percentage (83pc) of negative mentions when the public was asked about their recent experiences of the health services.

Action 86 of the 121 actions in the health strategy committed to introduce a 'substantial programme of improvements in accident and emergency departments'.

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