CORK University Hospital has been allocated €800,000 by the HSE to implement a number of measures to ease the trolley crisis over the winter period, it has been revealed.
The plan seeks primarily to support older people and their transition from the acute setting and to support acute and community operations.
Cork University Hospital is one of nine hospital sites, along with associated community healthcare organisations, targeted for extra resources this winter.
CUH was identified as a key site of concern for this winter.
The hospital saw the number of people awaiting beds in its halls rise by almost 300 in just one month between October and November 2018, with more than 900 on trolleys or chairs in CUH last month.
Clinical Director of Medicine at CUH, Dr Mike O’Connor revealed the hospital will implement a detailed plan in the coming weeks to alleviate pressure on the Emergency Department and improve patient flow throughout the hospital.
He said the hospital will put additional medical staff in place, open an additional 10 beds on site and seek to gain 10 beds in private nursing homes along with a further 15 in private hospitals.
CUH will also open additional medical assessment units and operate its acute medical assessment unit on a 24/7 basis.
Dr O’Connor said the hospital will also work to ensure patients can access scans faster.
“In addition to that, we’re looking at having Emergency theatres, specifically earmarked for emergencies over that period of time.
“We’re also looking at putting in a frailty intervention team, therapy led team in the ED, looking at older patients, that they’re seen rapidly and assessed, and back on their feet.
“We will then link up with our community partners to see if we can get them back home with support which is safer,” he added.
“This is the first year the hospital has received a defined chunk of money to put in place special measures for January period and it’s very welcome.
“I would hope certainly that it would improve the situation from the point of view of capacity and patient experience and we’re reasonably confident that this will be the case,” said Dr O’Connor.
CUH has more than 200 ED attendances per day from December 27 right through to January, along with 50 ambulances arrivals.
The group tasked with compiling a winter plan for CUH more than a month ago will meet three times a week over the winter period, Dr O’Connor revealed.
Meanwhile, the Operational Group will continue to meet five times a day to assess flow, the ED status and pressure points.
The HSE plan, which focuses on a four-week period from 17 December to 13 January, includes plans for 75 additional Acute Beds, 66 additional Community Beds and four additional Rehabilitation Beds.