National Rollout of new Community based mobile X-ray services

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Minister for Mental Health and Older People Mary Butler, TD, has welcomed the completion of the national rollout of a new community based mobile X-ray service which aims to reduce the number of older patients attending Emergency Departments  

From March 1, this free, community-based service is available to residents in nursing homes and Community Nursing Units nationwide. 

Minister Butler said, “The completion of the national rollout of mobile x-ray services to all nursing homes is a really important development which will make a real difference to many older people. Improving access to services and enhancing the healthcare experience for nursing home residents are critical priorities for me and this Government. I am hopeful that this expanded access to mobile X-ray services will not only benefit nursing home residents, but also reduce the number of frailer older people needing to present at Emergency Departments.”

The service was first launched on a pilot basis in 2022 and has been rolled out nationally on a phased basis. Referrals are assessed in conjunction with the nursing home and GP to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment. To-date, over 1,000 GPs have made referrals to the service across more than 350 nursing homes and Community Nursing Units.

Patients do not need a medical card to avail of the service, which is funded by the HSE to provide the service in both public and private nursing homes.

If a nursing home resident has a fall or requires a chest x-ray, the diagnostic team will arrive on-site, and an x-ray exam will take place in the resident’s own room. A report will then be shared with the referring doctor within four hours.

Minister Butler said, “I am really pleased to see the positive outcomes that the initiative is bringing for nursing home residents. For example, up to the end of January 2024, over 7,500 patient examinations have been carried out as part of the service. A diagnosis was provided to the vast majority of these residents, which prevented a transfer to hospital. This community intervention is really important to help ensure the right care is provided in the right place and at the right time.”