Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill says delayed discharges from hospitals 'must be tackled' to solve A&E crisis

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Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill says delayed discharges from hospitals 'must be tackled' to solve A&E crisis

Our Lady's Hospital in Cashel which Deputy Jackie Cahill wants used to solve A&E overcrowding

Delayed discharges from hospitals will have to end if hospital overcrowding in A&Es is to be solved, according to Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill.

The Fianna Fail TD said that solving the problem will require the HSE and the Government to deal with what he termed a major challenge in our hospital network.

Deputy Cahill was commenting after an analysis by his party of PQ replies from the HSE showed that there were 91,197 delayed discharges at hospitals across the country, including 1044 at South Tipperary General Hospital and 235 at Nenagh Hospital, over the first seven months of 2017.

A further 798 bed days were lost at University Hospital Limerick in addition to 2267 at University Hospital Waterford so far this year.

“From both a resource and patient care point of view, these lost bed days are unjustifiable,” he said.

The TD said that it was further evidence that the level of support being provided to mainly older patients is not good enough.

“We know that across the State, there are too few step down beds in the health system and that home supports remain inadequate,” he said.

Deputy Cahill pointed out that the excessive and unforgivable situation where hundreds of patients were lying on trolleys in Emergency Departments or in wards was directly related to the number of bed days lost in the system.

“If a fraction of these lost days were put back into use every day through better supports for older people upon discharge, we could radically reduce the number of people lying on trolleys,” he sad.

He said that his instinct was that the amount expended keeping these patients in hospital was a lot more than the cost of providing decent, quality home care packages or care in a step-down care facility.

“The HSE must accept that utilising our community hospital facilities to support and care for non-acute patients is the way to go,” said Deputy Cahill

The Tipperary TD stated that Our Lady’s in Cashel was an ideal, top of the range, facility in which to care for patients, and in particular older people, who do not need intensive, acute support.

"By getting them out of the acute hospital network, we can ensure more space for people attending Emergency Departments and who need to be admitted to the main hospital.

“What we do know though is this problem will continue unless real resources are put in to tackle it. The demographic changes alone will ensure that such investment is necessary,” he said.