Wednesday, 25 January 2023
Ceisteanna ar Pholasaí nó ar Reachtaíocht - Questions on Policy or Legislation
Stephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source
There is no consideration, at the moment, of opening more emergency departments. However, in my view the reconfiguration that happened some time ago was not done in the right way. There is a very strong clinical view for the consolidation of emergency departments. However, the resources needed to be put in place before such a reconfiguration. That is why I intervened, for example, in the reconfiguration in Navan. UHL is under significant pressure. I turned the sod recently on an additional 96 beds. There are two more plans that will provide a further 200 beds. We are also putting in a surgical hub. There is an awful lot of investment going in. We will be investing in Nenagh, Ennis and further in St. John's Hospital and other hospitals. This is the way to do it.
I would also say, however, that there have to be changes to working practices and the effectiveness of patient flow through those hospitals. We saw recently that when weekend discharge and late evening discharge were put in place and the community sector and the hospital teams worked together, there was an immediate and important reduction in the number of patients on trolleys. The Government will continue to invest. We will prioritise those projects, but that must be met with changes to working practices, how patients are seen, when they are seen and when they are discharged both in the acute sector and in the community sector.