HSE Statement March 12th

All hospitals have had an extremely challenging time since early last week due in no small way to the adverse weather conditions. Many hospitals are reporting significant congestion and, as of 2.00.p.m. today, there were 375 patients on hospital trolleys awaiting admission. This number is expected to drop further this evening and increase again tomorrow morning.


This issue was discussed at ED Taskforce today. The Taskforce acknowledged the considerable efforts in terms of planning and managing a very challenging situation. It also reiterated the importance of continuing and enhancing a series of measures in order to alleviate and contain the situation.


The Taskforce was briefed on the HSEs recovery plan and key actions which included:

1.    Cancellation of non-urgent inpatient procedures across most hospital sites. In all cases the hospital will contact patients to let them know if their procedures are going ahead.

2.    In some sites day surgery will be postponed in order to allow hospitals to provide beds for emergency patients. Where necessary, hospitals  will contact patients directly to advise on any postponements

3.    Hospitals are continuing to focus on discharging patients in so far as they can. Last week a further €5m was allocated to 13 hospitals so support the purchase of home support packages for the next 4 weeks. 

4.    Public Hospitals continue to engage with private hospitals to transfer suitable patients where clinically appropriate and beds are available in major urban centres. 

5.    We continue to utilise a significant number of additional beds (surge capacity) which are open across the system with 621 additional beds open today.


John Connaghan, Joint Chairperson of the ED Taskforce commented, “While it has always been acknowledged that the health service would experience a difficult and challenging time following the recent adverse weather, all efforts continue to be made to address the issues delaying patient flow through the hospital and community care system. The commitment and resilience of our health care staff throughout this challenging time has been fully acknowledged by the ED Taskforce members today.”

Last updated on: 13 / 03 / 2018