THE Taoiseach says the government wants to take pressure off the emergency departments with a stronger primary care structure and more robust community care and diagnostic services.
Micheál Martin was commenting following recent pressures in emergency departments, including at Cork University Hospital. On Friday, 42 admitted patients were waiting for beds at CUH, the highest figure reported in the country.
Mr Martin said the figures in emergency departments are “quite significantly higher than they were in 2019 in the pre-pandemic period.” He said it was a sign that people are now returning to the health services, adding that there had been concerns during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic that diagnoses were being delayed.
But he said there is a lot of pressure on emergency departments as a result.
He added: “That will be an ongoing feature of reforms in our health service as we emerge from Covid-19.” He paid tribute to the work of HSE staff in addressing the recent cyber attack as well as the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Irish Association for Emergency Medicine (IAEM) for steps to be urgently taken to provide suitable but functional alternatives to Emergency Department referral.
Clinical lead, major trauma audit, and consultant in emergency medicine, Conor Deasy, said that CUH’s ED is “extremely busy with some patients experiencing very significant delays”.
“We are seeing many patients who in pre-Covid times would have gone to their GP,” said Prof Deasy.
“Covid has created an enormous increase in workload both in terms of diagnosis and management and the rollout of vaccines for GPs and hospitals. All this while we sail with a broken mast due to the ransomware attack,” said Prof Deasy.