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Trolley numbers could touch 1,000 by 2018, PCPC warned

07 Apr 2017

Additional hospital beds would not be needed in future were adequate investment made immediately in primary care; failing which hospital trolley lists could hit the 1,000 mark in the space of a year, the Primary Care Partnership Conference was told last week.

Chairman Chris Goodey told the ‘Defining Primary Care in the 21st Century’ conference in Croke Park that investment in primary care would alleviate the overwhelming demand on hospital services by keeping patients in the community. “With 565 patients waiting on trolleys for treatment, we know the secondary care system is currently beyond capacity and we urgently need more beds,” Goodey mentioned.

“If we do not reform our healthcare system, we could potentially be talking about 1,000 people waiting on trolleys by this time next year.”

While acknowledging that New Zealand and Denmark had similar current bed capacity to Ireland, Goodey argued that their health systems were not overwhelmed because they had been investing in primary care over the past 10 to 15 years, keeping patients out of hospitals if they did not need to be there.

“Why, then, are we still waiting for this decisive shift to primary care?” Goodey pondered, while urging the Irish Government and HSE to act now.

The conference also heard evidence for change from key national and international thought-leaders in health.

Participants in six solution-driven workshops on primary care resource centres, the role of technology in primary care, transitional funding into primary care, health and social care professionals, multi-disciplinary integrated care, and introducing Local Integrated Care Committees (LICCs) nationally helped refine these ideas into action plans for inclusion in a submission document to health management.

The NAGP CEO added: “Last year, that document was the catalyst for a significant shift in the public discourse on healthcare reform. Now, all stakeholders recognise the necessity of a decisive shift to primary care for the benefit of patients. This year, the outcome of the workshops will, again, form the basis of a submission document which aims to influence public discourse to the same extent.”

lloyd.mudiwa@imt.ie

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