It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride for Naas Hospital in recent days.
A survey carried out about the experiences of patients was largely positive towards the facility.
And at one point last week, Wednesday morning, there were 32 patients on trolleys.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, perhaps the most media savvy of the public service trade unions releases these figures every day for every public hospital in the State.
They represent the numbers admitted to hospital through the accident and emergency departments at a time when there is no bed immediately available.
Overcrowding is a problem generally and some hospitals, like Limerick and Galway, generally fare much worse than Naas.
But for a few days last week and again yesterday Naas was well up there in terms of hospitals overcrowding figures. And this prompted the Health Service Executive to implement its escalation policy, a list of measures designed to tackle delays caused by overcrowding..
The patients survey showed a high level of satisfaction overall among patients who participated in the National Patient Experience Survey (NEPS), which is a joint partnership between the various health authorities.
The survey was in the main good news for the hospital and the people working there. 85% of patients had a good or very good experience while this figure fell to 74% for the of patients “at hospital admission stage”.
But there were some criticisms tool — criticisms which the hospital say it is working to address.
Less than half (48%) of people did not always have enough time to talk a doctor about their care of treatment, a bothersome statistic which may or may not be blamed on resources at the hospital.
A little more than than (54%) could not always find someone on the hospital staff to talk to about their worries and fears.
Exactly half said they were not informed about potential side effects of medication to watch for at home.
The survey took place in May of this year — during which nearly 600 patients were discharged but only slightly less than half of them participated.
Some 82% said they waited more than six hours in the emergency department before being admitted. It is acknowledged by the authorities that this length of time is means Naaws is performing below the national average and lengthy waiting times are associated with poor outcomes.
Perhaps the bottom line though is that most people said they were treated with respect and dignity and had confidence win the hospital staff treating them.
The hospital says it is working to with staff to improve emergency department waiting times and that a hospital wide awareness about the importance of giving time to patients to discuss their care and treatment has been promoted .
Also a programme is to be introduced to “improve the effectiveness of communication between doctors and their patients.”
The hospital is to set up a working group “to improve hospital processes around patient discharge” which will focus on danger signals for the patients to watch out for at home after discharge.
On balance the majority of people using the hospital can have confidence in the service; most do anyway. Moreover the shortcoming identified are being addressed in a planned manner.