Written answers

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Department of Health

Hospital Overcrowding

Photo of Rose Conway-WalshRose Conway-Walsh (Mayo, Sinn Fein)
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591. To ask the Minister for Health his plans to increase bed capacity and address the overcrowding crisis in the Saolta Hospital Group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62838/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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Hospitals in the Saolta Group are dealing with increasing levels of attendances to their Emergency Departments. This increase is resulting in a higher number of admissions to the hospitals. The care needs of many of these patients require a greater length of stay in hospital. Covid-19 is also continuing to have a significant impact on bed capacity, either in caring for patients with the virus, or as a result of bed closures caused by Covid restrictions.

Bed capacity has also been impacted by staffing resources. A significant overseas nursing recruitment campaign is being progressed by the Saolta Group, with the intention of having additional resources coming into the service in the next 3 months. Interviews are currently in progress.

Plans for additional capacity across Saolta sites are outlined below:

University Hospital Galway:

Ahead of the proposed new Emergency Department development at University Hospital Galway, Saolta Hospital Group advises that the handover of the Temporary Emergency Department (Phase 1) in UHG is scheduled for end of April 2022, with the handover of the internal replanned area (Phase 2) scheduled for end of July 2022. The temporary ED facility, and in particular, the subsequent development of a new Emergency Department and Women & Children’s Block at the hospital, are key to addressing accommodation issues and meeting service demands.

Construction of a replacement cardiothoracic ward commenced in Q2 2021. This will provide 12 additional beds. The works are expected to be completed in Q2 2022.

Mayo University Hospital:

Funding is being provided for 40 beds off-site. At this point 18 are operational and a further 12 will be available early in 2022.

Portiuncula University Hospital:

A new ward block development will provide a 50-bed replacement ward. It is hoped to award a contract for this work early next year.

Also, the design of a 12 bedded isolation ward in a vacated area of the hospital is progressing.

Sligo University Hospital:

It is intended that enabling works for a medical block, consisting of 42 bedded single room accommodation with ancillary space, will begin in early 2022.

Letterkenny University Hospital:

An additional 39 beds have been approved for LUH. Of these, 16 are operational. The remaining 23 beds will become operational in Q1 2022.


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