The Queen Elizabeth Hospital. (FP)

The Board of Management of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) wishes to advise the general public that patients seeking care at the Accident and Emergency Department (AED) may experience delays due to a shortage of in-patient beds.  

The QEH has reached its maximum capacity as the majority of its 519 in-patient beds are currently occupied. This is due in part to the large number of persons awaiting elective surgery, and the continued provision of care to persons classified as Elderly for Care (EFC).

Presently the QEH is home to at least 30 EFCs who have been cleared for discharge but whose relatives due to socio-economic and other factors are unable or ill-equipped to provide the care which they require in the home environment.

Until they are placed in an appropriate alternative care facility, these elderly patients remain under the care of the QEH, and utilize beds needed for patients who require acute care.

As a result, there has been a decrease in the throughput of patients admitted from the AED, as these patients must remain in the Department until an appropriate in-patient placement is available.

This blockage is also expected to compromise the Emergency Ambulance Service’s (EAS) ability to respond to incoming calls as patients in the AED often remain on the ambulance trolleys resulting in ambulances being taken out of service until these trolleys become available.

Further to this, surgical services have also been impacted as only emergency surgical procedures are being performed, and all elective procedures have been rescheduled.

Despite the challenges outlined, we wish to assure the public that no patient will be discharged before the medical team determines it is safe to do so; and that our medical and nursing staff are working assiduously to review and discharge only those patients who no longer require hospitalization and can be safely managed at home.

The Board of Management of the QEH apologizes for the inconvenience caused, and thanks you for your patience and support, and asks that you continue to treat our staff with courtesy and respect, as we strive to serve you better.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital

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