Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon-Galway Eugene Murphy has highlighted the fact that more than 90,000 bed days were lost in the hospital system so far this year owing to delayed discharges, including almost 4,000 in University Hospital Galway. A further 597 bed days were lost over the same period in Portiuncula University Hospital, Ballinasloe.
Patients are classified as delayed discharges when they no longer need to be cared for in an acute hospital setting but has no access to appropriate step down care. Deputy Murphy said that his party had received recent data in relation to delayed discharges through a parliamentary question.
“The figures show that Galway University Hospitals lost a total of 3,859 bed days from January to June 2017 due to delayed discharges. Sligo University Hospital lost 1,249 bed days over the same time period while Mayo University Hospital lost over 1,800 bed days and Roscommon University Hospital lost 977 bed days in the first half of 2017 due to delayed discharges and Portiuncula Hospital in Ballinasloe lost 597 bed days over the same time period.
“Nationally to lose 90,000 bed days when there are over 86,000 people waiting for treatment is totally unacceptable. It just shows that the level of support being provided to mainly older patients is simply not good enough.
“We know that across the State, there are too few step down beds in the health system and that home supports remain inadequate. On average more than 15,000 bed days were lost each month in hospitals nationwide. The number fluctuated from 13,105 in February to 16,699 in April,” said Deputy Murphy.
“We have hundreds of patients lying on trolleys in Emergency Departments or in wards around the country and this is directly related to the number of bed days lost in the system. If a fraction of these lost days were put back into use every day through better supports for older people upon discharge, we could radically reduce the number of people lying on trolleys,” concluded Deputy Murphy.