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Our Lady of Lourdes used Full Capacity Protocol 75 times in 2017 – Adams

22 February, 2018 - by Gerry Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has warned that the “extensive use of the full capacity protocol to manage hospital emergency departments is a deeply worrying trend and is evidence of the government’s failure to address the crisis in the health service.”

Teachta Adams said:

“Last year, Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda was forced to invoke the full capacity protocol on 75 occasions. This means that it ranks 16th out of the 27 hospitals in this state with emergency departments. Overall, full capacity protocol was deployed 3,541 times across all hospitals in 2017.

“According to the head of the Special Delivery Unit of the HSE, the full capacity protocol is ‘the last escalation step’ for dealing with emergency department overcrowding. When deployed, much of the normal activity of a hospital is suspended, additional patients are moved onto wards and hallways outside of emergency units and oftentimes elective surgeries at the hospital can be cancelled. 

“In a properly functioning health service, full capacity protocol should only be implemented in exceptional circumstances. It puts huge pressure on patients and their families, especially when elective surgeries are cancelled. This is deeply troubling for patients who may by in chronic pain and may have arranged time off work and childcare for their children.

“Full capacity protocol also impacts on the morale of staff who work hard every day to try and ensure that our hospitals run smoothly and patients receive the proper care and attention they require.

“To make this happen, the government now needs to move speedily toward the publication of the implementation plan for the recommendations contained in the Sláintecare report. Crucial to this is the recruitment of additional staff. 

“In June 2015, the government launched a 'Bring Them Home' campaign which was aimed at persuading 500 of the 7,500 nurses who emigrated to Britain in recent years to come back to the health service.

“On February 14th, I received a response to a Parliamentary Question on this issue. It revealed that, since June 2015, only one nurse has been recruited for the CHO Area 8 which covers Laois/Offaly, Longford/Westmeath, and Louth/Meath.

“Addressing the staffing and capacity crisis in our hospitals should be a government priority.” 

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