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Delayed discharges cost health service nearly €600 million since 2016 - Louise O'Reilly TD

9 August, 2019 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin health spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly has called out the HSE and the Minister for Health for their failure to tackle delayed discharges in hospitals around the State, a failure which has cost the health service nearly €600 million since 2016.

Speaking this morning, Teachta O’Reilly said:

“Delayed discharge patients are clinically fit for discharge from an acute bed, but because of a lack of home help or a nursing home bed they can't be discharged - this practice constitutes one biggest financial wastes in the health service and has cost the health service nearly €600 million since 2016.

“Hundreds of millions is being wasted unnecessarily by keeping these patients in acute hospital beds.

“Delayed discharges also keep sick patients out of beds and further delays care, is a contributory factor to Emergency Department overcrowding, it adversely affects patient flow throughout the hospital, and it is incredibly unfair on the patients who are ready to be discharged.

“So far this year 109,495 bed days have been lost due to delayed discharges. It costs the health service €878 to run a hospital bed per day, so these bed days have cost the health service €96,136,610 just to keep patients who can be discharged unnecessarily in beds.

“This has been going on for years, last year, when the cost of a hospital bed per day was €856 per day, 206,606 bed days were lost, meaning the it cost the health service €176854,736.

“So far in 2019 the highest figures in Dublin were St James’s Hospital with 12,333 bed days lost totalling over €10 million and Beaumont 11,460 bed days lost at €10 million as well, while outside of Dublin Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda lost 8,592 bed days at €7.5 million and Cork University Hospital lost 5,811 bed days at a cost of €5.1 million.

“This state of affairs makes the HSE penny wise and pound foolish policy of freezing home help hours even more bizarre.

“Simon Harris and Paul Reid should be focusing on tackling this issue which costs the HSE close to €200 million each year.”


Note to editors: A copy of Deputy O'Reilly's PQ's regarding Home Help Hours can be found at the following links

PQ 12289 17 Response

PQ 27332 19 Response

PQ 30204 18 Response

PQ 31725 19 Response

PQ 31726 19 Response

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