New Emergency Programme Announced

The Department of Health has announced a new Accident and Emergency service. Acute Medicine Programme (AMP) radically changes the manner in how hospitals deal with unscheduled patients.

The system aims to provide differentiate between the sick, the less sick and the really sick. The system introduces a number of "streams" which patients will be placed into based on their medical complaint. This differs from the older Emergency Departments system, which lack such defined differentiation.

The AMP is being introduced across all hospitals in Ireland over the coming years. It aims to provided a improvement in patient experiences, safety and eases access for acutely ill medical patients, allowing for greater efficiencies and cost savings.

The AMP streams patients away from crowded Emergency Departments to newly designed "Acute Medical Units". These new units are designed for rapid investigation and treatment. 

"National Early Warning Score" (NEWS) is also built into the AMP. NEWS will provide a "track and trigger" medical response to a deterioration in a patient's clinical state. This response may include moving patients to more appropriate care settings.

This year the AMP will be introduced into 12 hospitals, the remaining hospitals will be introduced to the new system in 2013.  It is targeted to save 500,000 bed days used (BDUs), which is the equivalent to 1,300 beds.