There are a number of factors which may affect the waiting times for older patients. In particular, people in the over-75 age category presenting to EDs are more likely to have complex needs and require admission to hospital than the population generally. Nevertheless, the National Service Plan 2021 includes an expected activity target that 99% of patients aged 75 and over attending at an Emergency Department be discharged or admitted within 24 hours and any breach of this target in respect of patients in this age cohort is regrettable.
This winter is particularly challenging due to the presence of Covid-19 and the uncertainty around the level of Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 healthcare demands. The HSE Winter Plan, supported by an additional €600m invested in health services, aims to reduce the number of patients waiting on trolleys for hospital admission and reduce Emergency Department waiting times while ensuring that patients and staff alike are protected in the Covid-19 environment.
There are specific supports in the Winter Plan for those at greater risk including older people, the homeless, and people with chronic illnesses, facilitated through additional Community Healthcare Networks, Community Specialist Teams, and Frailty Intervention Therapy Teams operating within acute hospital EDs. These measures will create the foundation and organisational structure through which integrated care will be provided locally within the community at the appropriate level of complexity.
With regard to the Deputy's specific question, I have asked the HSE to respond directly with the requested information.