Updated: 06/01/17 : 07:13:00
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Emergency Department Taskforce to meet today

The Emergency Department Taskforce is due to meet this morning to discuss the overcrowding crisis in hospitals.

The meeting was brought forward by a week, after the number of patients waiting on trolleys reached an all-time high of 612 on Tuesday.

Last night the HSE announced a number of enhanced measures as part of the Winter Plan, following a meeting with the Minister for Health Simon Harris.

Among the steps are an additional 63 acute hospital beds, along with 60 step-down beds across 10 hospitals. See link below

General Secretary of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation Liam Doran (pictured above) said there were not enough nurses to staff the additional beds that the HSE is planning to introduce.

"Yes those beds are needed, but delivery of that particular policy would be wholly contingent on nurses being available," he said.

"Currently we've 150 beds closed because of staff shortages, so it's highly questionable and unlikely the system will be able to recruit the additional nursing staff required.

"That in turn means those beds cannot come on stream no matter how much they are required and warranted."

The HSE last night announced that private hospitals in Cork, Kilkenny, and Mullingar have been asked to support public hospitals as part of the efforts to tackle overcrowding in emergency departments.

And in another unprecedented response to the crisis, private X-ray and ultrasound providers in Wexford, Portlaoise, Waterford, Limerick, and Letterkenny are to be asked to offer services to GPs so they can divert patients from public services.

Another 63 acute beds are also to be opened nationwide: 28 beds at University Hospital Galway, 15 at the Mater, eight at Kilkenny, and 12 at Tullamore. A discharge lounge will be opened in Waterford.

In the next four weeks, a further 60 step down beds will be made available in Galway, Clonmel, Wexford, St Vincentís, St Jamesís, Tallaght, Drogheda, Beaumont, Mater, and Connolly hospitals for patients, who would otherwise remain in an acute bed, while their nursing home application is being processed.

Enhanced discharge processes are also to be put in place across the country.

Link: Sligo Today 6/1/2016