Seanad debates

Wednesday, 28 February 2024

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

Health Services

10:30 am

Photo of Martin HeydonMartin Heydon (Kildare South, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Senator for raising this important issue, no more so for those who are in need of dialysis in County Clare. I am giving this response on behalf of the Minister for Health, Deputy Stephen Donnelly, who unfortunately cannot be here, for what continues to be a very important issue for the people of Clare and the mid-west.

First, I would like to reassure the Senator that the Government remains fully committed to improving patient services and ensuring patient-centred care across the country. That commitment can be seen through the unprecedented level of new resources that we have provided to the HSE over the last three years. This has involved significant investment in the mid-west region. That includes Ennis Hospital and University Hospital Limerick, the annual budget for which has increased by more than 45% since 2019. This investment is benefiting a huge number of patients accessing care and will ensure hospitals can continue to develop the services they provide.

With regard to haemodialysis services in the region, the University of Limerick Hospital Group has advised that patients from County Clare currently receive care either in University Hospital Limerick or in the hospital’s satellite centre, which is located on the Dock Road in Limerick city. This additional, externally contracted satellite haemodialysis service in Ennis has been proposed by the hospital group. The National Renal Office confirmed a 66% increase in demand for this service in the region between 2010 and 2020. It is proposed that this externally contracted unit will serve patients from County Clare closer to home, addressing the issue raised by the Senator. There is no doubt that it is a quality of life issue. It is estimated that this unit will treat 30 patients per year for the first five years. This proposal aligns with the national strategy for the provision of renal services. Provision of care in the community is also consistent with the goals of Sláintecare.

The HSE initiated the process to tender for the provision of this unit last year. I know the Minister continues to work closely with the HSE to ensure the University of Limerick Hospital Group is fully supported in the delivery of health care services for the region. Again, I thank Senator Conway for raising this really important matter.


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