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Dublin: 4 °C Sunday 23 November, 2014

HIQA writes to HSE twice over risks to patients in emergency departments

The issue centred on what the HSE is doing to mitigate the risks to patients who are waiting transfers in EDs to inpatient beds.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THE HEALTH WATCHDOG HIQA had to contact the HSE twice by letter to get more information on how it is mitigating risks to patients in emergency departments who are awaiting transfers to inpatient beds.

Information obtained under Freedom of Information legislation by the Medical Independent found that in the second letter, HIQA looked for “further, more fulsome information” from the HSE.

The watchdog had written to the HSE with information that had been brought to its attention about ED overcrowding around the country.

A response from Ian Carter, the then National Director of Acute Hospitals, to HIQA was deemed to not be adequate, as it did not identify measures to mitigate risks to patient safety.

HIQA told the HSE in its letter that it had received “concerning information” about Tallaght Hospital’s ED. It said a senior clinician had also outlined how the ED was “dangerous this week”.

HIQA was also advised of ED overcrowding issues in the Cork City area.

In the response to HIQA’s second letter, Carter said the 2013 Acute Hospital Access Action Plan had commenced that month (February 2014).

Read more in the Medical Independent.

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