Wednesday, 1 February 2017
Department of Health
Accident and Emergency Departments
150. To ask the Minister for Health his plans to improve the country's accident and emergency departments; and if he will consider opening new minor injury units and guarantee all current accident and emergency departments are maintained. [4522/17]
In September 2016, the HSE launched the 'Winter Initiative Plan 2016-2017' which provided €40 million of additional funding for winter preparedness. This Initiative was developed to manage the expected winter surge in demand for hospital care in an integrated way across Primary, Acute and Social Care. On 5 January, in response to significant pressures in our EDs in the New Year, a series of enhanced measures were added to this initiative.
As part of the measures detailed in the Winter Initiative, the Smithfield Clinic which provides minor injury care in the catchment area of the Mater University Hospital was funded to expand its service with the aim of treating up to an additional 100 patients each week. This has been in place since 1st November 2016. A review of the five day week expanded service and determination of inclusion of weekend service will be undertaken shortly.
There are currently 11 Minor Injury Clinics operating nationwide, and as the Deputy will be aware, Minor Injury Units are for the treatment of broken bones, dislocations, sprains, strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns that are unlikely to need admission to hospital. In cases where an injury is more serious than originally thought, the patient is transferred to the hub ED linked to the Clinic for further assessment and treatment.
The HSE has recently launched an information campaign, including social media, to promote and further inform the public of the services available through these clinics and their locations.
The Programme for Partnership Government commits to a review of Medical Assessment Units, Urgent Care Centres and Minor Injury Clinics. Preliminary scoping work on this review is being carried out.