Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (589)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh


589. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Health the number of bed spaces available at St. James's Hospital; the number of patients that have been admitted on trolleys awaiting a bed in each month over the past three years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44804/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

According to HSE TrolleyGAR data, there was a 9.9% increase in patients counted waiting on trolleys at 8am in St James' Hospital ED for the year to date as of the end of September 2019 compared to the same period last year. In the month of September 2019, there were 187 patients counted on trolleys in St James' Hospital, which was a 76.4% increase compared to the previous month.

My Department is engaging extensively with the HSE this year to identify mitigating actions across the health service to bring down trolley numbers and waiting times in the ED in the face of growing demand.

The HSE Winter Plan 2019/2020 will address the preparedness of individual sites and the entire health system to deal with the increase in demand on services over the winter months. Additional funding has been agreed to support the delivery of the Winter Plan this year. This funding will support the availability of home care, transitional care, nursing home placements and other local actions to both reduce congestion in EDs and facilitate timely hospital discharge over the winter period. The Department is currently working with the HSE to finalise the Winter Plan.

The Open Beds Report, published by my Department monthly, provides a summary of the average numbers of open inpatient beds and day beds/places in the acute hospital system based on data provided by the HSE. It can be found on the Department's website: https://health.gov.ie/publications/

According to provisional data received from the HSE Acute Business Information Unit, there were on average 11,008 inpatient beds and 2,268 day case beds/places available nationally in July 2019. There was an average of 707 available inpatient beds and 112 available day case beds in St James' Hospital year to date in July 2019.

The Health Service Capacity Review published last year highlighted the need for a major investment in additional capacity. An additional 23 beds have opened in St James' Hospital since 2017.

With regard to the Deputy's specific question, I have asked the HSE to respond to the Deputy directly with the requested information.