About 12 per cent of patients are referred “inappropriately” to the HSE West’s public hospitals, according to a bed utilisation study carried out this year.
Addressing a meeting of the Regional Health Forum West at Merlin Park Hospital on Tuesday Chris Kane, the regional co-ordinator of the Western Hospital Group, said inappropriate referrals continue to happen in 2008.
She outlined that 2009 will be a challenging year for the acute hospital sector. “It is expected that there will continue to be increased demand for services while we pursue reconfiguration.”
She stated that the group was moving in the right direction by shifting more of its inpatient workload to day cases, controlling its elective workload and reducing patient length of stay.
“As part of the service plan in the WHG we expect to shift more work to a day care basis. Our focus will be to encourage the provision of care on a day case basis, where appropriate, day of surgery admission. The aim is to continue to provide for the emergency admission workload whilst controlling the overall level of acute inpatient work.”
She explained that while budgets nationally are expected to be the same as the 2008 allocation flexibility will be required within the system to achieve and deliver services with the available resources.
Issues being discussed include redeployment/reassignment, reduction on overtime, increased emphasis on value for money and creating greater efficiencies within the service, she said.
In his review of 2008, Seamus McNulty, assistant national director of the HSE West’s primary, community and continuing care department, said it had not been an easy year. However, significant services had been developed and delivered, he stressed.
Ms Jacky Jones of the HSE West’s health promotion department said while this year proved to be an “extremely challenging year” the HSE’s population health department continued to provide a broad range of services.
“Difficulties regarding the non-filling of vacant posts across the various sectors of population health will mean that we will need to reorientate our services in 2009 to ensure priority topics and population groups will continue to be targeted, assisted and resourced.”