Thursday, 28 November 2019
An tOrd Gnó - Order of Business
Maire Devine (Sinn Fein)
I echo the dismay of Senator Freeman at the lack of implementation of A Vision for Change. The strategy was published in 2006 and was to be implemented by 2016, but 75% of it is yet to be implemented. Its funding was scalped in the name of the fiscal rectitude which has eaten away at our health services.
I refer to Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin, which is located up the road from where I live. Several years ago, I was alerted to issues at the hospital by the INMO and nurses working there. Approximately a year ago, I did some work on numbers relating to the hospital. There has been a stark increase of 15%, at least, in attendance at its emergency department. However, facilities or staffing numbers have not increased. The situation there is now being highlighted but it has been going on for some time. The chaos in adults' accident and emergency departments is well known. I tried to highlight the difficulties in children's emergency departments in 2016. We have not reached the high point of need for emergency treatment, which usually occurs in February or March.
This morning, a paediatric consultant interviewed on the "Today with Sean O'Rourke" radio programme kept referring to an urgent care centre. It was eventually clarified that she was referring to the new children's hospital at Connolly Hospital. We need to get the message out that the facility is open. Although it is only open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, we need to advertise it such that parents know they can bring their children there. It opened in July. I would like the Minister to inform the House on the staff ratios there, the status of recruitment and which parts of the service are fully operational. If it is only operating from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., it is obvious that it is only partly operational. We are awaiting the opening of the new children's unit at Tallaght Hospital and the children's hospital on the St. James's site which is being constructed at massive cost. We need to advertise the new satellite children's hospitals. I ask that the Minister come to the House and answer questions on the current operational capacity of the facility at Connolly Hospital.