Patients stranded in hospital over Easter

by Gazette Reporter
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Recent figures from the HSE reveal that 75 patients were stuck in west Dublin hospitals over the Easter period, 49 of whom were in Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown, despite being cleared to leave by a senior doctor.
Up to 90%, of the so-called “bed blockers”, are elderly patients over 65 who were fit to leave hospital but could not be discharged as alternative arrangements have not been put in place.
The HSE has calculated that the nightly cost of a hospital bed is between €800-900. Using these figures, a conservative estimate puts the overall cost at €60,000 per night – the equivalent of 2,857 hours of home care services.
The delays are at a five-month high nationally with over 635 patients costing €508,000 stuck in hospital as they await a home care package, home help, approval for nursing home care under the Fair Deal scheme or access to HSE rehabilitation equipment and facilities.
“I am appalled that in the context of this year’s public health budget requiring an additional €199m in funding, delayed discharges are at a five month high and the HSE is continuously squandering over €508,000 a night,” said chair, Home and Community Care Ireland (HCCI), Michael Harty.
“The structural separation of one type of care from another, as well as increased home care funding to enable faster discharges, could save millions annually and allow much-needed frontline resources to be reallocated to where they are really needed,” said Harty.
Cllr David McGuinness (FF) said: “This clear indication of significant wasted resources is simply unacceptable. Those of us who are campaigning to ensure Connolly accident and emergency services are not reduced find it shocking to hear that up to €60,000 is being wasted per night due to a lack of communication internal within Connolly Hospital. I will be raising these concerns with hospital management and seeking a commitment to put protocols in place to ensure bed blocking is eradicated in the hospital so that the significant waiting lists, of patients waiting to get into Connolly, can be reduced too.”
A HSE spokesperson said: “On April 22 there were 46 patients in Connolly Hospital on the delayed discharge list of patients.
“Of these 37 were within the Fair Deal process and nine were awaiting home care packages prior to the patient being discharged,” said a HSE spokesperson.
“The vast majority of fair deal applications are commenced in the hospital following the patient’s acute admission and after the patient and the family taking the very difficult decision to move to residential care. The whole process takes a minimum of six weeks to complete.
“The decision to discharge a patient is a clinical decision. Patients are not discharged (unless they discharge themselves) until their consultant is satisfied that it is appropriate to do so and the patient no longer requires inpatient treatment and care.”

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