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HSE Announces Winter Plan 2018 - 2019

6th December 2018

The HSE has today published the Winter Plan 2018/19. The €30 million plan seeks primarily to support older persons and their transition from the acute setting and to support acute and community operations.

Speaking today, Anne O Connor HSE Deputy Director General Operations said; “Hospitals and Community Organisations submitted joint winter preparedness plans in September. Since then the focus has been on preparing, in so far as possible, to manage the anticipated service pressures this winter.  Winter Planning has been underway since mid-year and takes into account not only the learning from previous years but also the suggestions and advice of over 180 staff from hospital and community services around the country who attended a national Unscheduled Care (ED) Forum in September this year.” The plan focuses on

  • Preparedness of the entire health system to deal with winter pressures  from  1s t  December 2018 to 31st of March 2019  including: Increased number of patient attendances at Emergency Departments, increased number of patients requiring hospital admission, infection outbreaks  in health service and wider community, heightened requirements for isolation due to infection prevention and control requirements, high hospital bed occupancy rates (currently 95-100%) and increased numbers of patients in acute hospitals whose discharge is delayed.
  • Support for Community and Acute Operations including
    • €10.6 million for 550 additional Home Support Packages
    • €4 million for Aids and Appliances
    • €1.5 million to support access to Transitional Care Beds
    • 66 additional Community Beds *
    • 4 additional Rehabilitation Beds
    • 75 additional Acute Beds* (please see note below)
  • A 4 week period of enhanced measures targeted at 9 sites of concern, the period will run from 17th of December to the 13th of January.

The 9 sites and associated Community Healthcare Organisations (CHOs) are as follows:

  • Mater Misericordiae University Hospital & CHO 9
  • St. Vincent’s University Hospital & CHO 6
  • Tallaght University Hospital & CHO 7
  • Naas General Hospital and CHO 7
  • Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore  and CHO 8
  • Galway University Hospital and CHO West / CHO 2
  • University Hospital Limerick and CHO MidWest / CHO 3
  • Cork University Hospital and Cork Kerry Community Healthcare / CHO 4
  • University Hospital Waterford and South East Community Healthcare / CHO 5

These sites, together with their community partners will be the focus of intense monitoring and oversight for the 4 week period identified.

A Winter Action Team has been established for each of the sites and funding has been provided for enhanced measures to support the sites during the Focus Period. The enhanced measures include: FITT Teams to support Frail Elderly Patients, Extended availability of Diagnostics, Extended opening hours of Acute Medical Assessment Units, Additional Senior Decision Makers on site and the provision of ‘Winter Ready Services’ for at risk patients including patients with chronic illnesses.

“Speaking today Dr Vida Hamilton, HSE National Clinical Advisor Acute Hospitals said; ‘More than 60% of people over 50 are living with a chronic condition such as asthma, COPD, diabetes and heart failure. They, along patients living with cancer and immunosuppression, are more vulnerable to infection and need to protect themselves with vaccination against ‘flu and pneumonia. We know that 20% of winter admissions are due to chest infections and prevention is always better than cure. Handwashing is vitally important as viruses can live for days on surfaces and our hands then bring the bugs to our faces, which can lead to winter vomiting or ‘flu. Every time you wash your hands you protect yourself.’

The Winter Plan 2018/19 is available below.

For further information visit www.hse.ie/winter


Last updated on: 06 / 12 / 2018