Press Release

Statement by An Tánaiste on the Health and Safety Authority’s Inspection of A&E Departments

The Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney T.D., today (Wednesday 20th April 2005) welcomed the Health and Safety Authority’s Report (HSA) of its inspection of 11 A&E Departments around the country.

“While the HSA has acknowledged that the hospitals are fully engaged in the process of addressing health and safety in their A&E units, the Report by the HSA points to serious issues for those charged with responsibility for delivering health services at hospital level.”

The Authority noted that the causes of overcrowding in A&E Departments are complex and acknowledged the “whole system” approach being advanced in the 10 point plan to improve the delivery of A&E services.

The Chief Executive Officer of the HSA met with the Chief Executive of the Health Service Executive on 19 April to discuss the outcome of the inspection programme. The HSA has indicated in its report that it is satisfied that the HSE is committed to addressing the areas of concern and will prioritise the management of health and safety so that the issues highlighted by the inspectors can be resolved as a matter of urgency. The HAS Report is the beginning of a process of improvement, not the end.

The Tánaiste said – “I welcome the HSA’s Report. We all want to ensure that patients and staff working in hospitals have a safe and healthy environment. I have spoken many times about my concerns regarding the conditions staff and patients have to cope with on a daily basis. The Authority has clearly pointed to the need for management and staff at individual hospital level to work together to find solutions. The HSA report will add further impetus to our drive to improve the delivery of A&E services for the benefit of both patients and staff working in the area.”