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Beaumont hit by record number of A&E patients

A RECORD 1,000 patients a week are now passing through Beaumont Hospital's emergency department.

New figures show that nearly 50,000 people were seen in the accident and emergency department last year, an increase of over 2,000 on the previous year's figures.

The figures were supplied to TD Thomas Broughan by the HSE, who said the figures were a record.

Severe

He said that the staff are superb, but under severe pressure. The hospital's catchment area has grown significantly, with population growth in areas of Dublin central, Fingal Swords and East Meath.

He said also that there is no doubt that cuts to the health budget are having an effect.

Meanwhile, the number of elderly patients who are awaiting discharge to facilities which can offer suitable long term care has an effect on issues such as bed availability at the hospital, he pointed out. The hospital was allocated one-off funding of over €400,000 to implement initiatives it had identified as being key to alleviating the conditions in the emergency department.

These included purchasing assisted discharge care packages, and increased cardiology diagnostics during the week and on Saturdays.

Health Minister James Reilly said earlier this year: "Beaumont was successful in achieving the objective of having no one waiting over 12 months for in-patient or daycase surgery by December 31, 2011. All except two hospitals reached this target nationally."

He added that work would continue this year to maintain the 12-month maximum waiting time and to further reduce waiting times by the end of the year.

Meanwhile the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has revealed that there are 2,402 beds closed in hospitals across the country, with 62 shut in the Beaumont.

Trolleys

However the INMO said there has been a reduction in the number of patients waiting on trolleys in the first four months of the year.

Nationally there was an overall reduction, in the first four months of 2012 compared with 2011, of 17pc.

It said that the greater Dublin area showed a reduction of 23pc, while the rest of the country showed a reduction of 13pc.

It said that the national figure was also down on the 2010 total for those four months by 3pc.

hnews@herald.ie


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