THE LOCAL health service is under serious pressure all year round but over the next few weeks the demand on services gets even more acute.
So much so that the Western Trust is implementing what it describes as a ‘winter resilience plan’ for SWAH to ensure that those in greatest need get top priority.
Unscheduled outpatient demand in SWAH continues to rise, with an approximate increase of 2,329 attendance from last year, with predictions of 40,589 attendance’s in the Emergency Department (ED) during 2019/20, a 6% increase on the previous year.
However, the Trust has decided against creating additional bed capacity at SWAH but will develop a plan focusing on reducing the length of a patients stay by improving discharge process, admission avoidance and expanding alternatives to hospital care.
Director at SWAH Dr Ronan O’Hare said bed-blocking was a major problem for SWAH.
“The measures that we are putting in place is all to do with flow, and where patients go.
There is a huge demand on acute hospital beds and we unfortunately don’t have the community infrastructure to process patients and to move them on into community care, predominantly because of the closure of nursing home beds and the lack of domiciliary care, particularly in rural areas.
“So much so that we have anywhere between 25 to 35 delayed discharges for people who are medically fit to go home, but there is nowhere for them to go, which is upwards of 10-15% of our bed stock.”
Dr O’Hare added, “We understand that everyone has a right to professional care, but we’re faced with the situation of so many sick people coming in and there needs to be a balance.
“Around 15% of people who come to ED end up going home without even seeing a doctor.”
“We need a different approach to medicine from the community. Quite simply if you don’t need to come to ED then don’t. People need to bear in mind there are alternative sources.”
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Posted: 7:52 pm December 19, 2019