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Additional Winter Funding for Health Services for the Saolta Group and Community Healthcare Area 1

Additional Winter Funding for Health Services for the Saolta Group and Community Healthcare Area 1

The HSE has this week published the National Winter Plan 2019-20 providing for funding of €26m nationally to support the HSE to manage the known increase in demand the health service will face over the winter months. Of this, €6.8m has been allocated to hospital and community services across the country to allow for specific local initiatives to improve patient care.

Over the last number of months the Saolta University Health Care Group, together with representatives from Letterkenny and Sligo University Hospitals have been working very closely with their colleagues across many services in Community Healthcare Organisation Area 1 to plan for the expected increase in demand for health services from the public over the winter period.

Over the coming months, higher rates of respiratory viruses circulate including seasonal influenza, norovirus and healthcare associated infection. Indeed a number of hospitals in the Saolta Group have already implemented visiting restrictions this month due to outbreaks of norovirus. It is also a time when hospital Emergency Departments are under increasing pressure.

Addition funding of €558,700 has been provided to Community Healthcare Organisation Area 1 and the Saolta Group jointly to support improved patient care in the hospitals and community services in the North West.

John Hayes Chief Officer, Community Healthcare Organisation Area 1 said, “We have been working very hard over the last number of months in partnership with our colleagues in the Saolta Hospital Group to improve the care we will provide to patients over the winter period. We are particularly focused on helping patients avoid hospital admission and supporting the transfer of care of older patients from acute hospitals to the community as quickly as possible. This funding will also allow us provide for additional aids and appliances which will facilitate patients’ earlier discharge from hospital. We are also implementing a reablement programme, which provides supports to older people to enable them remain in their own homes.”

Tony Canavan, CEO of the Saolta University Health Care Group added, “From a hospital perspective this funding will aim to minimise the length of time patients need to stay in hospital. Winter is always an extremely challenging time for our hospitals and in particular our Emergency Departments. We are placing an even greater focus on discharging patients as early as possible on their day of discharge so we can accommodation other patients awaiting admission as quickly as possible. This is also being facilitated by additional cleaning programmes. We are putting a number of additional targeted staff in place to improve the movement of patients through our hospitals.”

Commenting, Dr Anthony Breslin, Specialist in Public Health Medicine said, “It is extremely important, in particular that the over-65s or patients living with a chronic condition such as asthma, COPD, diabetes and heart conditions do all they can to keep themselves well over winter. This includes availing of the flu vaccine and taking the time now to check with their pharmacist and/or GP to ensure they know their medicines and devices and are taking them and using them correctly. Everyone should be aware of the importance of hand-washing to prevent the spread of viruses and infection.”

The article above is specific to the following Saolta hospitals:: 
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