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Almost 12,000 patients waiting on hospital procedures for more than 6 months

The HSE’s report for December 2011 also showed that 62 posts – mostly in emergency medicine and psychiatry – need to be filled.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

ALMOST 60,000 people were waiting for elective procedures at Irish hospitals at the end of December last year.

That is an 18 per cent jump on December 2010 figures.

Over 40,000 people were waiting on day treatment, with another 15,000 adults waiting on inpatient treatment, according to the HSE’s Performance Report for December 2011.

At the end of the year, 11,688 people had been waiting more than six months for inpatient and day case procedures.

Although 39 hospitals ensured that no patient waited more than 12 months for a planned procedure, 372 people were waiting over a year for procedures in Galway hospitals.

There has also been a significant improvement in the number of people waiting for urgent colonoscopies after plans were put in place to slash ever-growing lists. Last September, 2,400 people were waiting for more than three months.

As of Christmas Day, just two patients were waiting more than 28 days for a priority colonoscopy. The breaches were in Sligo and Kerry hospitals but the patients have since had their procedure.

The report also noted:

  • The number of MRSA bacteria notifications continued its downward trend in 2011.
  • There were 425 Primary Care teams, including 3,117 staff and 1,592 GPs, operating across the country. That is 64 teams shy of the HSE’s target.
  • There were 1.168 million emergency presentations in 2011, a slight decrease on 2010 levels.
  • Absenteeism among staff continues to be higher than the target levels and management said it is still an area of focus.
  • The number of people covered by medical cards rose to 1,694,063.

Mental Health

Figures for the third quarter of 2011 showed that there were 3,428 admissions to acute mental health units across the country.

For the first nine months of the year, an increase of 5 per cent saw over 10,500 patients admitted to mental health units.

A total of 154 admissions of children and teenagers were recorded at HSE Child and Adolescent mental health in-patient units. However, 131 children or teenagers were admitted to adult inpatient units.

Involuntary admission accounted for 17 of these patients.

The number of repeat, deliberate self harm presentations to Emergency Departments was up about 2.3 per cent on 2010.

Vacancies

As of the end of January this year, HSE hospitals and agencies have 62 posts that have not yet been filled. More than half of these positions are in Emergency Medicine and Psychiatry.

The HSE said that there are no service implications from the vacancies but there is an “ongoing cost issue” because of the dependence on agency staff.

Download the full report here>

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