Minister Thanks Healthcare Workers

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Stephen Donnelly
Stephen Donnelly

Health Minister, Stephen Donnelly thanked Healthcare Workers for delivering a 20% reduction in trolley numbers in the last six months of 2023.

The number of patients on trolleys in hospitals fell by 7.5% in 2023, compared to 2022. 

The Department of Health  said the HSE’s improved performance was even more pronounced in the second six months of 2023, with the number of patients on trolleys down by 20% since July 2023, compared to the same six months in 2022. At the Minister’s request, the HSE moved in 2023 from yearly Winter Plans to a year-round approach and the HSE’s Urgent and Emergency Care Operational Plan 2023 was published in July.

Over the Christmas weekend  (December 23- 26) there were 80% fewer patients waiting on trolleys, compared to the same period in 2022. 

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, thanked all those working in hospital and community settings. He said that the progress was the result of a system-wide response right across the HSE, general practice, home care, pharmacies and the nursing home sector. 

The Minister said, “Frontline staff and management worked together relentlessly over the Christmas period to ensure our hospitals worked as efficiently as possible, delivering an 80% reduction in patients on trolleys during this period.

He also welcomed the improved transparency and detailed daily reporting on Emergency Department and Hospital capacity from the HSE. 

The HSE is providing a publicly available daily report showing the number of patients waiting on trolleys in the Emergency Departments and the number of extra patients on trolleys in the wards. 

The HSE’s daily report also shows the use of surge capacity. Surge capacity in use is the number of beds taken from elsewhere in the hospital to meet ED demand. 

It also shows the numbers of Delayed Transfer of Care (DTOC) patients. A delayed transfer of care is when a patient is ready to leave hospital but is still occupying a bed. It happens when a patient is waiting to go home or into care elsewhere, but the care or home supports are not yet in place for them.

The Department of Health said the Government had provided significant resources to the HSE over the past three years to mitigate the additional pressure on emergency departments.

An additional 1,126 acute hospital beds have opened since 2020., the HSE had increased overall staffing numbers by 25,239 since the beginning of 2020. This  included 7,510 nurses and midwives; 3,881 health and social care professionals; and 2,859 doctors and dentists.