Government Have Lost Confidence to Deal With UHL Situation – Mid West Needs A Model 3 Hospital

26 February 2024

Labour TD Alan Kelly said:

“The situation surrounding acute care in the Mid West is the worst I have ever seen. It simply can’t continue. The public have lost confidence with the Government to deal with it.

“With the record levels of overcrowding people in North Tipperary are now refusing point blank to go to UHL for optimal treatment as they don’t have confidence they’ll get it. The increasing number of worrying patient cases being reported on from UHL is also heightening public concern.

“Many care treatments in UHL are best in class such as cancer care but we have to face the facts once and for all that access through the emergency department, bed volumes and access to consultants simply are not at the level required for the population of the mid west.

“The plans to open two 96 bed blocks are welcome but they won’t deal with the structural issues that exist around the acute system in the mid west. The simple fact is that the population of the mid west is too high for just one emergency department and the structures in place where so much has to go through that department means that there are constant patient pathway failures.

“This means that elective surgery in other mid west hospitals like Nenagh are being cancelled with hundreds of procedures being postponed in the last two months alone.

“The community facilities and patient pathways in the Midwest also need to be strengthened in order to prevent people ending up in the emergency dept in UHL while GPs need to work with the pathways in place a well. Simply put we need better community facilities, more home help hours and packages, greater access to more GPs and a range of other services but that won’t happen overnight.

“The staff working in the hospitals in mid west are really suffering from stress and exhaustion. They are trying to treat people on corridors and in cubicles thereby trying to manage not just patients medical needs but also trying to preserve their dignity as well.

“It cannot continue. We need short term interventions and a plan to help with the current situation that manages patients flow better. We also though need a medium term vision for what will be in place in 3-5 years time. I and the Labour Party feel that we need a level 3 hospital in the Midwest that has an emergency department and that should for geographical reasons should be based in Nenagh. This would be a hospital of similar status to Tullamore, Sligo or Kilkenny.

“We currently have a level 4 hospital in UHL and the rest are level 2 (St Johns is a level 2s). We need a level 3 hospital which has an emergency department and a ICU as well as a fully functioning MAU. Obviously such a hospital will also need another bed block and theatres to help with patient numbers and flows.

“Ultimately following the failure of reconfiguration, the failure of the Teamwork Report, the failure of the Hanly Report, the failure of the clinicians to deliver on what was promised when Nenagh and Ennis emergency departments were closed for a centre of excellence in UHL, it is now time to call stop and plan for the change that is needed to deal with the deeply worrying situation we have now and give people hope that we can resolve it.”

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