Press Release

Tánaiste meets A&E Task Force, emphasises urgency of practical actions

Speaking after meeting the new HSE Task Force on A&E, the Tanaiste and Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney T.D. said,

‘This taskforce is about practical actions to improve patient care at A&E and in hospitals. I am grateful to the highly respected consultants and healthcare specialists who are giving their time to ensure that the actions will work and are implemented quickly.’

‘A&E is being treated as the emergency it is. Every resource is being prioritised and every action needed will be taken to improve care for patients at A&E.’

‘The bottom line is that no-one, particularly no older person, should sleep overnight on a trolley in a corridor. I am determined to put an end to that for good. People who need to be admitted will have beds, not trolleys, and the basics for human dignity. This will be put in place in the coming months. Anything less than this is not acceptable to the public, not acceptable to me, and not acceptable to the HSE.’

‘Hospitals are now being given targets for improvement, so that everyone can measure progress. Patients are to be seen more quickly at A&E, and fewer and fewer are to experience long waits on trolleys.’

‘These targets will be a minimum. They are to be breached, not just to be reached.’

‘The government and the HSE are prepared to do all we can do provide acceptable standards of care in A&E. We will not hold back on any practical action that will work. We urge everyone to work together positively on this.’

‘The people on the Task Force today focused on practical actions to achieve these results. There are short term actions as well as longer term solutions.’

‘We have to do both. Right now, that means:

  • Targeted resources for improvements will be made available by the HSE
  • Changed practices and better patient care will be rewarded.
  • Diagnostics and tests will be provided at weekends and evenings.
  • New beds will be assigned immediately to A&E areas to ensure that old people do not sleep overnight on trolleys.
  • People will be discharged each day of the week to keep beds available.
  • Patients’ discharges will be planned so that home care will be ready when they are medically fit for discharge.
  • People will be helped to move out of hospital beds by a lot more home care packages and nursing home places. The HSE will step up the pace of availability of home care.
  • We will also use the private sector where we can to assist, e.g. for diagnostics or additional bed nights.

‘These actions include a continuation of the 10 point plan. They are recognised as essential by all concerned.’

‘I am confident we can improve A&E for patients. It will take a lot of work together by everyone in healthcare, not just in the A&E department, all towards the one objective. I have confidence that consultants, nurses and managers working together can achieve the standards of care the public want. I will give this my top priority until it is done. The government will support all solutions with practical actions needed to achieve our shared goal.’