Numbers in Tallaght University Hospital A&E exceeds 50,000

By Mary Dennehy

ATTENDANCES at Tallaght University Hospital’s emergency department exceeded 50,000 for the first time in 2017, with the number of people presenting at A&E who required admission rising by more than 550 in the space of 12 months.

The figures have been released as part of Tallaght University Hospital’s (TUH) 2017 Annual Report, which, according to CEO David Slevin, shows how the hospital continues to meet growing demand despite sustained pressure with less resources.

Tallaght University Hospital

The hospital experienced a two per cent increase in adult emergency department activity in 2017, when attendances rose from 49,663 in 2016 to 50,286 in 2017.

The report also shows a significant increase in the number of adults presenting to A&E who require admission.

According to the report, the number of adults arriving in A&E who required admission rose from 15,788 in 2016 to 16,349 in 2017 – that’s an additional 561 people needing beds.

There has also been a notable increase in the number of over 75-year-olds attending A&E, with 4,267 over 75s attending in 2014 and 5,410 in 2017 – a 27 per cent increase in the space of three years.

Citing CSO figures, TUH said that the projected population is set to grow locally by 322 per cent over the course of the next 15 years and the 2017 Annual Report highlights this as one of the biggest challenges facing the hospital.

The report also shows rapid growth on the outpatient waiting lists.

In 2015, some 835 people were waiting longer than 15 months on Tallaght University Hospital’s outpatient waiting list, a figure which had risen to 6,475 by December 2017.

According to the report, in December 2015, the number of patients waiting for outpatient procedures for 15 months or less was 17,773 – while those waiting for 15 months or more was 835.

By December 2017 these figures had risen to 19,750 patients on the outpatient department waiting list for less than 15 months – with 6,475 patients waiting more than 15 months.

Growing waiting list

According to the report, outpatient department attendances have increased in recent years, with the rate of referrals resulting in a growing waiting list.

The number of people attending the outpatient department in recent years are 230,303 (2014), 236,614 (2015), 238,307 (2016) and 239,976 (2017).

David Slevin, Chief Executive Office of Tallaght University Hospital said: “The 2017 Annual Report shows once again that the hospital is continuing to celebrate many achievements and meet growing demands despite sustained pressure with less resources.

“The hospital coped well as the impact of an ageing population became even more apparent in 2017 with an increased number of patients aged 75 and over presenting to the hospital in emergency situations and being admitted.”

He added: “[The year] 2017 saw key developments take place in the hospital’s research activity, in particular with the opening of the Meath Trinity Laboratory and the relocation of the Institute of Population Health to the nearby Tallaght Health quarter.

“There have been many positive achievements to celebrate over the past year and I want to thank all of the staff who put the ethos of ‘People Caring for People’ into practice every day.”

Overall, Tallaght University Hospital, which has a workforce of 3,119, continues to see in excess of 424,000 patients per annum, representing a combination of 271,052 outpatients, 25,281 inpatients and 45,186 day case admissions.

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