The HSE announced this week that it will roll-out an additional 550 home care packages in a bid to relieve pressure on hospital emergency departments.
The move comes after the delayed discharges report, published by Minister of State for Older People, Jim Daly, indicated that a lack of community care beds was among the main reasons for patients being kept in hospitals after their treatment has finished.
“Of course there will be trolleys. It’s an inevitability with the need for greater capacity and so on but we’ll continue to manage it proactively through the Christmas and winter period,” said Mr McNamara.
“We have arrangements in place to ensure the hospital can provide the best possible care for patients.
“We will need to ensure that there are beds in the community settings where we can transfer patients to, that’s very important,” he added.
CUH has been preparing for a busy winter period by reducing planned theatre activity in the post-Christmas period, as they do every year, to ensure that maximum resources are available for emergency care.
“We know in the post-Christmas period there is always an increase in patients requiring admission to hospital so we scale back planned activity until the first week or so in January,” explained Mr McNamara.
“We have staff rostered on so as to ensure that senior nursing and medical people, as well as management, are available on site.
“We will ensure that we have increased access to diagnostics during the Christmas period and post Christmas period,” he added.
“We will also be working with our colleagues in the community setting to ensure that patients flow through the hospital into the community with the greatest efficiency possible so there aren’t issues arising in terms of placing patients back into the community setting, closer to their home.”
Mr McNamara said the hospital has a “whole range of measures in place to deal with not only the post-Christmas period but the entire winter.
The closure of theatres will allow theatre staff to be allocated to other areas which may need extra resources, he explained.
“The staff schedules in theatres will reflect the need for more staff in certain areas. That is part of the planning,” he added, describing the move as sensible.