Trolley Crisis Eases At Tullamore Hospital

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Trolley Crisis Eases At Tullamore Hospital thumbnailThe Scott Building at Tullamore Regional Hospital was officially opened by Minister Simon Harris (left), pictured with Cllr Eddie Fitzpatrick, Cathaoirleach, Offaly County Council and Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD, junior Minister for Health Promotion.

THE trolley crisis at Tullamore Hospital has eased after hitting high levels last week.

There were 37 patients either on trolleys or in a ward awaiting admission when Health Minister Simon Harris visited Tullamore last Thursday to officially open the Scott Building, a facility beside the Regional Hospital.

By last Friday that had dropped to 12 and was down to ten by Monday before reaching 12 again yesterday (Tuesday, January 10).

Yesterday the INMO (Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation) counted seven patients on trolleys in Tullamore Hospital's emergency department and five awaiting admission in a ward.

However, there were 26 patients on trolleys in Portlaoise Hospital on Tuesday and 19 either on trolleys or in a ward in Mullingar.

Minister Harris toured the Scott Building, which was formerly the general hospital in Tullamore, last Thursday.

It now houses facilities such as mental health, the TUSLA office, rooms for doctors on call, a research facility and administration.

Prior to conducting the official opening Minister Harris addressed the overcrowding crisis in hospital emergency departments across the country.

The Minister outlined a number of short-term and longer-term strategies to solve what he accepted was an ongoing problem which is always worse in the winter.

Among the temporary measures he listed were modular buildings, extending the hours of diagnostics, allowing GPs to refer patients directly to consultants and taking steps so that elderly people can remain in nursing homes.

He accepted that he was one of many Health Ministers in the past 20 years who had been in the midst of crises affecting hospital emergency departments.

He identified three 'pillars' to the solution, including increasing bed capacity, recruiting more staff and making a 'decisive shift' to primary care.

'All three of those issues I've been working on in the eight months I've been in office,' he said.

A bed capacity review will be completed in 'quarter one' of this year, negotiations on the GP contract will begin this month and 115 new nurses had already been recruited.

'I'm determined to try and break that vicious cycle,' he said.

'We cannot say as a country that's been so successful in so many areas that we cannot get this right. It is all going to require us pulling together and working together.'

The Fine Gael Minister said he will be seeking cross-party support for his initiatives and has set up a cross-party committee to look at the health service for the next decade.

He promised to report progress on the three pillars regularly.

Meanwhile, hospital general manager Orlagh Claffey confirmed that 12 new in-patient beds in Tullamore.

Ms Claffey said an investment of €1.2 million in the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore will result in the opening of a short-stay medical unit with 14 nurses.

'The good news with that is it came with a complement of staff including nursing, consultant staff, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, medical scientist,' said Ms Claffey.

'It's been a phenomenal development for the hospital and we're very excited it's happening,' added the general manager.



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