18 Aug 2022

Waterford TD says Government 'needs to wake up' to delayed discharge issue

Waterford TD says Government 'needs to wake up' to delayed discharge issue

Waterford TD says Government 'needs to wake up' to delayed discharge issue

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Older People Mary Butler TD has warned that more people will end up on trolleys or in hospital for weeks and even months on end unless the Government gets serious about home care supports.

Deputy Butler was responding to new figures released to her, which show that more than 55,000 bed days were lost in Irish hospitals between January and September this year as a result of delayed discharges.

“The fact that thousands of bed days are being lost every month is a clear indication that the current system isn’t working.  Keeping people in hospital despite them being well enough to either go home or to spend some time in a step-down facility makes no sense. The patient doesn’t want to stay in hospital any longer than is necessary, there is no medical rationale and it costs more money to keep them in a hospital bed rather than to discharge them into a community setting”, said Deputy Butler.

“These figures reveal the true extent of the mismanagement of our health service.  What we need is more home support hours, home care packages and respite support for families.  It is only once these measures are in place that we will see an easing of the delayed discharge numbers.

“Figures for September 2019 showed that it was the worst September on record with 10,641 patients on trolleys.

“This government needs to wake up to the seriousness of this crisis.  The solution is relatively simple, and will in the longer term, actually save the State money. If we had proper step-down facilities and home care supports, we could free up capacity in our hospitals and vastly reduce the trolley figures.

“We have not even reached the winter months yet, and I am extremely concerned about our health services’ ability to cope once the surge takes hold,” concluded Deputy Butler.

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