Thursday, 5 July 2012

Questions (150)

Thomas P. Broughan


150 Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health the impact of the special delivery unit in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin 9; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32892/12]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Health)

Improving access for patients to both un-scheduled and scheduled care in hospitals across the country is central to the role of the Special Delivery Unit which I established in my Department. Since the SDU become operational in September 2011, it has worked closely with a range of hospitals across the country including Beaumont. The hospital works closely with the SDU Liaison Officer and there are weekly meetings held with the management team of the hospital along with representation from management of the local community services. In addition to discussing current performance issues and trends, the Liaison Officer works with the hospital to improve patient pathways and develop and improve operational issues.

While the provision of funding is not a core function of the SDU, there are limited resources available to assist hospitals to meet its targets in relation to unscheduled and scheduled care. With regard to unscheduled care (Emergency Departments) funding was made available to Beaumont Hospital as part of the successful SDU initiative in 2011 to ensure that the number of patients waiting in ED was kept to a minimum over the Christmas and New Year periods.

A limited amount of funding has also been made available in 2012 to assist the hospitals to meet their targets in relation to trolley waits. In relation to Beaumont Hospital, funding related to opening additional bed capacity for short-periods and also to fund an initiative for hospital avoidance for older persons run by the Geriatricians, funding has also been made available for an initiative involving Community/Hospital Liaison, Weekend Liaison Nurse and Home Support to enable earlier discharge home and avoid hospital admissions.

To date the SDU interventions in relation to unscheduled care have resulted in a reduction in the number of patients waiting on trolleys in ED. In relation to Beaumont Hospital, up to 22 June 2012, there has been a reduction of 9% in the numbers waiting on trolleys when compared with the same period in 2011.

With regard to Scheduled Care (In-patient and Day Case Surgery) last year, I instructed all hospitals that no person should be waiting more than 12 months for surgery by the end of the year. The scheduled care access targets set for public hospitals for 2012 are that no adult should wait longer than 9 months for surgery, no child should wait more than 20 weeks for surgery and no person requiring a routine GI endoscopy should wait more than 13 weeks.

Beaumont reached the 2011 12 month target with some targeted assistance for a small number of cases from the NTPF. In this year the hospital is progressing towards the 2012 access targets assisted by a targeted programme of support agreed between Beaumont and the NTPF. This support is directed towards adult ENT, Urology and GI endoscopy procedures and also towards paediatric ENT and General surgery. These are the areas where the greatest challenges, in terms of faster access times for procedures, exist.