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Record number of patients treated in hospital last year

The HSE has published its 2023 hospital activity figures, which show that a record number of patients were treated in hospital last year, with the highest ever number of people receiving day case care, attending outpatient appointments and receiving hospital care as inpatients.

The latest figures also show that almost 1.7 million people received emergency care in 2023, which is an increase of 29,000 in the previous year and an increase of 188,000 in 2019.

The HSE acknowledges that unacceptably long waiting lists remain for many procedures and that emergency departments continue to face sustained pressure.

Bernard Gloster, CEO of the HSE, said: “Last year has the highest ever amount of health care delivered in the State. However, it is clear that there is still much to do, and we are building on that work through our 2024 Service Plan.

“We know that demand for care will continue to rise as our ageing population continues to grow, with the number of those aged 65 years and older expected to double and the population aged over 80 to increase almost threefold in the next two decades. Each year, we see significant additional demand rising, and our focus on older people has to be central to all of our efforts,” he added.

Mr Gloster continued: “To meet this challenge, and as a key objective of Sláintecare, we are currently undergoing structural reform to realign hospital, community and public health services into six regional teams, focused on delivering person-centred care to meet the health needs of the people in each region.

“Two critical areas that will remain high priority are improving access to care for people on waiting lists and improving unscheduled and emergency care. This doesn’t just involve our hospitals, but also developing community-based healthcare to support people to stay well and avoid the need to go to hospital or reduce the number of hospital stays,” he added.

Last year, the HSE progressed a number of modernised care pathways, and these included Urology (Haematuria, Continence and Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms), Ophthalmology (Paediatric Eye, Cataract, Medical Retina) and Orthopaedics (Virtual Fracture Assessment Clinics).

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