Tuesday 19 March 2019

Hospital backlogs as almost 150,000 'bed-blockers' cause delays

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Ryan Nugent

Ryan Nugent

Almost 150,000 delayed discharges have caused severe backlogs in public hospitals.

New figures provided by the HSE to Fianna Fáil health spokesperson Billy Kelleher show that 142,472 delayed discharges were recorded in hospitals over the first nine months of the year.

This works out on average as 15,830 delayed discharges every month, or 58 each day.

These delays happen when the patient is deemed well enough to go home by their doctor.

Such patients are sometimes referred to as 'bed-blockers'.

Mr Kelleher says the delays are occurring due to a lack of home help, home-care packages and community- based respite support.

The Cork TD said with numbers waiting on trolleys averaging 350 each day, progress can be made to cut this if the correct resources are applied.

"The hospital system has a starting point, an end point, and many stages in between. If any one of these stages sees a blockage, the rest of the system will be get backed up," Mr Kelleher said.

"Delayed discharges because of a lack of post-hospital care are unforgivable.

"If the difference between a person being discharged or not is a couple of home help hours every day for a week or two, then the system needs to be robust and flexible enough to respond.

"There needs to be better joined-up thinking and working between those managing hospitals and those managing post-hospital care in the community," he added.

Last January, most of the country was engulfed in a trolley crisis, with more than 600 patients on trolleys following a serious outbreak of the flu virus.

Irish Independent

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