Predicted A&E patient increase under control, says HSE West

Steps have been taken to prepare for increased numbers of patients attending the emergency department at Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe, according to HSE West which this week moved to reassure the public.

A spokesperson confirmed yesterday that the 2012 HSE West Service Plan sets out a number of measures that will be implemented to tackle predicted increases in patient numbers at the hospital. The plan outlines the type and volume of services that HSE West will provide within its €1.78 billion budget for the year ahead.

The service plan specifies activity targets in key areas such as emergency department presentations. HSE West has placed much faith in the effect that the continued implementation of emergency department avoidance measures will have in dealing with patient presentations, helping it to stay under the predicted 320,000 for 2012 which have been provided for - fewer than 300,000 presentations were made to the HSE West emergency departments in 2011.

The HSE West also moved to highlight the new hospital structures which were introduced earlier this year for Galway/Roscommon hospitals and Mid-West hospitals. A statement read: “HSE West allocated this year’s activity targets and budgets to the Galway University Hospitals Group rather than to the individual hospitals that make up the GUH Group [University Hospital Galway, Merlin Park University Hospital, Portiuncula Hospital, and Roscommon County Hospital]. In this way the new CEO of the hospital group, Mr Bill Maher, and his team can decide how best to manage their budget and their activity across the various hospitals in the group. The activity targets for the Galway Roscommon Hospital Group in 2012 are significantly over [approximately 10 per cent] and above the actual number of emergency presentations for Roscommon, Portiuncula, and Galway in 2011.”

HSE West further vowed to continue to actively work with the Special Delivery Unit in the Department of Health to implement the acute medicine programme to continuously improve waiting times and the patient experience in emergency departments.

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