Press Release

Statement on behalf of Minister Simon Harris following today’s meeting of the ED Taskforce

“This afternoon I met with members of the Emergency Department Taskforce to discuss the current pressure being experienced in EDs across the country and the exceptional measures being taken to alleviate this.

It’s unacceptable that patients are experiencing very difficult conditions in our EDs. However, we are beginning to see an impact from the exceptional measures being undertaken and the intense efforts of all our staff across the health service at this time.

It is important to note that INMO figures today are 101 lower than the first working day last week and 122 lower than the highest figure the INMO recorded last week.

I want to thank all those people who are working tirelessly in hospitals around the country during these difficult days and weeks.

At today’s ED Taskforce meeting we discussed the measures being taken around the country, which it was agreed are to continue and intensify in the coming days.

The measures agreed at today’s meeting include an increase in the number of senior clinical decision makers on hand in hospitals in the evenings and at weekends, enhanced access to diagnostics, increased access to transitional care beds, the opening of additional beds in a number of hospitals including St James’s, the Mater and Beaumont, and the utilisation of beds in private hospitals.

I also asked the ED Taskforce to a carry out a piece of work to examine how we can better support our elderly during the winter months, including residents in nursing homes and those living in the community. I look forward to the outcome of this work, which will feed into planning for next winter and beyond.

We must now focus on making sure we have plans in place to fix the situation in our emergency departments and break the cycle of overcrowding in the health service.

I’m committed to pursuing three priorities in 2018 to achieve this – increasing bed capacity using evidence provided by the bed capacity review, implementing reform through Sláintecare and increasing services provided through Primary Care by negotiating a new GP contract.

I will bring the bed capacity review to Government in the coming weeks and this will feed into the Government’s capital plan.

Over the coming days I will continue to remain in close and regular contact with the chief executives of the country’s hospital groups and senior officials in the HSE.”