Dáil Éireann - Volume 595 - 15 December, 2004
Written Answers. - Accident and Emergency Services.
Mr. F. McGrath Mr. F. McGrath
136. Mr. F. McGrath asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children the position regarding improvements in the accident and emergency departments; her further plans to remove persons from trolleys; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33816/04]
Ms Harney Ms Harney
Ms Harney: I have identified the delivery of accident and emergency services as a priority area for attention. Many of the difficulties and delays experienced in emergency medicine departments reflect system-wide issues. It is, therefore, necessary to take a whole-system approach, involving primary care, acute care, and sub-acute and community care in tackling the problems in emergency medicine departments.
Following a submission from the Eastern Regional Health Authority in June 2004 my Department approved proposals for short and medium term actions to be taken to address the problems associated with emergency departments in the Dublin academic teaching hospitals, DATHS. The cost of these new initiatives is €2.4 million in a full year and includes the appointment of specialist nurses, the establishment of rapid assessment teams, a clinical decisions unit and the provision of multi-disciplinary teams to assess patients.
Pressures on the hospital system, particularly in the eastern region, arise from demands on emergency departments and on difficulties associated with patients who no longer require acute treatment but are still dependent. Funding of €16.8 million has been made available to the Eastern Regional Health Authority which will result in over 600 patients being discharged to more appropriate settings.
Improved and expanded accident and emergency departments are being provided. Recently new Departments have been provided at Cork University Hospital, James Connolly Memorial Hospital, Naas General Hospital, South  Tipperary General Hospital, and Clonmel and Roscommon General Hospitals.
I have secured additional funding of €70 million in new current expenditure in 2005 to implement a number of initiatives to improve the delivery of emergency services. These include improvements in the following areas: patient flows through accident and emergency departments by developing and expanding minor injury units, chest pain clinics and respiratory clinics in hospitals; acute medical units for patients with urgent medical problems; GP out-of-hours services; the physical environment for patients and staff including cleaning and security measures; direct access for GPs to diagnostic services; the availability of acute beds for emergency patients by sourcing capacity in the private nursing home sector for those patients who have completed their acute phase of treatment and expanded home care packages to support older people at home.
I am confident that the measures that I have announced will have a significant impact on the delivery of accident and emergency services. The precise measures to be taken by individual hospitals will be worked out in discussion between the incoming Health Services Executive and the individual hospitals concerned.
Dáil Éireann 595 Written Answers. Accident and Emergency Services.