Doctors welcome Reilly's trolley pledge

  • Niall Hunter, Editor

Emergency medicine consultants have welcomed the commitment by Health Minister James Reilly to put an end to the long-running emergency department trolley crisis.

The Minister said yesterday that we will never again see 569 people on trolleys on a single day, as happened back in January.

The Irish Association for Emergency Medicine (IAEM) said it warmly welcomed the unambiguous commitment given by Dr Reilly that the 'national travesty' of ongoing emergency department overcrowding will finally be addressed.

The IAEM said given the incontrovertible evidence of harm to patients that results from ED overcrowding, the earlier that progress is made the better for all, so that avoidable illness and mortality does not continue.

The consultants' body said while there have been previous unfulfilled commitments to tackle the A&E problem, the direct intervention and oversight promised by the new Minister can bear fruit in dealing with what has been an intractable problem in the health service.

The IAEM says it will continue to advocate that no patient should have to wait more than six hours to be admitted to an inpatient bed from arrival to an ED when an admission to hospital is indicated.

This is currently the HSE's official target. However, recent statistics show that 40% of patients presenting at hospital emergency departments around the country are not seen, that is admitted or discharged following treatment, within six hours.

The figures also show that between 12% and 28% of patients in some hospital EDs have to wait over 24 hours to be seen.


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