HIQA Have Never Investigated the Damage Done to Patient Safety by ED Overcrowding – Tóibín
Speaking ahead of a meeting with the Minister for Health and Senior HSE and Department of Health management on Monday the 15th Peadar Tóibín stated;
“Aontú has received information via an answer to a Parliamentary Question which shows that Hospital adverse incidents increased to 105,000 last year. This is up from from 79,403 adverse incidents in hospitals in 2017. The number of adverse incidents in our hospitals is now at record levels. Adverse incidents range from serious failures such as incorrect or delayed diagnosis, wrong medications, incorrect dosages and slips and trips. “Extreme” incidents, which includes death or permanent incapacity, rose from 373 in 2017 to 579 last year. The reasons for these adverse incidents can be many but there is no doubt that colossal pressure on staff due to overcrowding is contributing to this record figure”.
“I have asked HIQA are they researching the figures and they have told me that “Currently there isn’t a mandatory requirement for HIQA to be made aware of serious reportable incidents occurring in public acute hospital”. This is incredible given that HIQA is responsible for “the promotion of safety and quality in healthcare services in Ireland”. I do understand that HIQA’s powers are very limited but we need to understand what is the cause of the massive increase in adverse incidents and what’s needed to stop them. The government need to empower and resource HIQA to do this work”.
“Given the shocking level of overcrowding in hospitals and Emergency Departments in the state I also asked HIQA if they are researching what effects overcrowding has on each hospital in the state? Given that overcrowding within Emergency Departments is in part a result in the closure of 9 Emergency Department throughout the state in the last 15 years I asked HIQA have they investigated the contribution of ED closures to this crisis. I also asked them have they investigated on what basis these decisions were made and who made the decision to close these EDs”.
“However HIQA do not have the power to investigate. They can only inspect and monitor. They have just undertaken an inspection of University Hospital Limerick. This is the first of its kind and a report will be published in 7 working days containing their findings. I welcome this, but it astounding that given the perennial overcrowding crisis that we are experiencing in Hospitals and EDs that this has not happened before. I am calling on HIQA to be given to powers to investigate the impacts of overcrowding and the causes of overcrowding. The decisions of governments and senior HSE management must also be investigated. There is no down that the closure of Nenagh and Ennis EDs has led in large part to the overcrowding in University Hospital Limerick”.
This policy is still on going with the government seeking to close Navan ED by the end of this month. This will have a knock on effect contributing to further overcrowding in Drogheda and Connolly Hospital EDs. A meeting with the Minister for Health, myself as Chair of the Save Navan Hospital Campaign, other Meath TDs and Senators, senior HSE management and Department of Health will take place in Government Buildings on Monday the 13th of June at 11am. This is a crunch meeting and all the signs indicate that the government are set to repeat the shocking mistakes they have made in 9 other hospitals in the last 15 years and push ahead with the closure of Navan ED. The Save Navan Hospital Campaign will fight this tooth and nail. We will not allow the most important health infrastructure in this grow county to be destroyed.