Hospital chief admits pressure is mounting on A&E

THE head of South West Acute Hospital has urged locals to ‘think smart’ about healthcare before opting to visit the Emergency Department.
Commenting on healthcare here Professor Ronan O’Hare, Assistant Director of Acute Services for SWAH, said there was a need to educate the population about all available forms of healthcare rather than limiting treatment options to visiting a GP surgery or a hospital.
Speaking in relation to the Emergency Department he said, “People need to realise that it is for emergencies, it isn’t for common colds or flus or minor aliments.
“A lot of the things we see should be seen by GPs but because of the waiting times and the pressures that GP’s are under they come to the Emergency Department and that clogs up the whole system. It’s not that sick patients won’t get seen, it’s that a lot of their illnesses could be self treated.”
Dr O’Hare, a consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care medicine, remarked that an increasing number of patients are visiting South West Acute Hospital year on year.
Over the past three months the hospital had to deal with over 1,500 patients more than during the corrresponding period last year.
He advised those seeking medical care to consider alternate options before coming to the Emergency Department.
“There’s so much information out there from local pharmacists and on the internet.
“It used to be years ago that the doctor had all the information and people came to access that to get a diagnosis and treatment. That all exists on the internet. People now come for a direction and a pathway to get treated.”
In accepting he understood that people still like a face to face conversation, he said, “you can access that with your local pharmacist”.
Assurances were also given that the local Emergency Department would be fully staffed over the Christmas period. Dr O’Hare added that a number of recent staff appointments had helped ease pressures on nurses working in the Department.
“In recent times we have permanently appointed an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist and we have just got the funding to employ a full time social worker.
“In addition to that ward clerks and secretarial staff have all been employed in recent times and that releases nurses from having to do tasks such as answering phone calls and dealing with relatives,” he said
“Whilst these are no less important it frees up nurses times for patients.”

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