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Dublin: 16 °C Sunday 22 September, 2019

Beds to be closed in Tallaght hospital

The hospital closed more than 30 beds on 29 December and will close the rest by the end of January, the INMO has said. The hospital has said that it is putting measures in place “with patient safety in mind”.

File photo of aprotest taking place against cuts at Tallaght Hospital last July.
File photo of aprotest taking place against cuts at Tallaght Hospital last July.
Image: Mark Stedman/ Photocall Ireland

SIXTY TWO BEDS in a Tallaght hospital are to be closed, which is to have a “huge impact” on waiting times, elective procedures and waiting lists, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has said.

It made the claims after learning that the Interim Board of the Adelaide and Meath Hospital has sanctioned the closure of 62 acute beds at the hospital.

It said that it had not been consulted on the closure of 31 beds on 29 December and the closure of a 31-bed ward at the end of this month and that the closures “will only exacerbate still further current overcrowding being experienced in Tallaght Hospital”.

The INMO added:

It is inevitable that such a reduction in bed capacity in Tallaght Hospital will have a huge impact on waiting times in the Emergency Department, elective procedures and waiting lists and, indeed, will result in patients presenting, in greater numbers, to other hospitals such as St James’s and Naas General which are already overstretched.

It said that the manner in which these bed closures were brought about, “without any consultation or public awareness programme, is in breach of the current public service agreement and renders meaningless any coherent health service planning for this highly populated area of South Dublin”.

INMO Industrial Relations Officer, Derek Reilly said:

Tallaght Hospital is already under serious and sustained pressure with, on a daily basis, additional beds being placed on in-patient wards.  This overcrowding only compromises the care of all patients and leads to increased risk of infectious conditions such as the winter vomiting bug.

Mr Reilly concluded that the INMO has written to the CEO of this hospital demanding an immediate meeting to discuss these closures.

A statement from the hospital said that during 2011, Tallaght Hospital had a ward closed due to financial constraints, and that part of the ward was opened and funded in November and December through the HSE’s Special Delivery Unit Initiative.

On an on-going basis two wards in Tallaght Hospital are occupied by patients who are awaiting placement in nursing homes. This equates to 50 patients. The Hospital’s strategy is focusing on the placement of these long-term care patients in the community where they will receive more appropriate care.

It added that the transfer of long-term care patients to nursing homes alongside other operational changes will reduce the number of in-patient beds required.

These initiatives include admission avoidance through the implementation of a medical assessment unit, chest pain service and enhanced COPD outreach service.

They also include:

  • Implementation of the National Clinical Programmes emergency medicine programme and elective surgical programmes.
  • Reduction in length of stay for medical and surgical patients
  • Increase the number of patients admitted on the day of their surgery
  • Ring fencing of beds for services
  • Shift in-patient treatments to day care services

Tallaght Hospital said all these initiatives are undertaken “with patient safety in mind” and are contemporary clinical practices that promote “the provision of the right care to the right patient at the right time”.

Read: Protest at Tallaght Hospital in solidarity with staff>

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