Tuesday, 12 July 2022
Department of Health
861. To ask the Minister for Health the plans that he, his Department and the HSE are making to equip hospitals to manage the winter months in 2023; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37393/22]
I have personally witnessed the challenging conditions in emergency departments during recent site visits. I have requested that the HSE set out short-term immediate actions to alleviate the pressure on EDs and ensure that our hospitals are ready for winter. I also requested the development of a longer-term plan for reform and improvement of unscheduled care, in line with expected increases in demand driven by population growth and an aging population. This plan will build on the substantial investment over the past two years in initiatives such as additional capacity, more staff, increased home care packages and greater GP access to diagnostics.
I met senior officials from the HSE recently and was updated on progress in developing plans and I instructed the HSE to urgently commence the implementation of all feasible short-term actions, in advance of finalising the plans, to mitigate pressure at each ED. We are due to meet tomorrow to further progress this priority area.
My Department and the HSE will continue to work together to develop a programme with a suite of longer-term actions to deliver systemic change to how unscheduled care is delivered.