Hospital passed over in latest round of bed openings
5th November 2018
THE promised opening of extra beds at Tullamore hospital has failed to materialise.
At the September monthly meeting of the Dublin Mid Leinster health forum, Councillor Tommy McKeigue received a commitment from the new CEO Trevor O'Callaghan that an additional 18 beds would open at Tullamore hospital.
However, the hospital has lost out to four other hospitals including, Our Lady's hospital in Drogheda which will get 30 more beds while South Tipperary hospital gets an additional 40.
Four high-dependency beds will open in the Mater Hospital and four in Cork University Hospital.
The beds are to ease the expected rise in the number of patients being admitted to the hospital over the winter months.
The shortage of beds at Tullamore hospital has led to severe overcrowding. Only yesterday Tuesday November 6 the number of people on trolleys reached 38. 10 of those were in wards that had already reached full capacity and the rest were on corridors.
Cllr McKeigue has expressed his disappointment. ''It's very bad. You would imagine it would be better to have 18 beds open rather than having 18 on trolleys.''
Cllr McKeigue said many of those on trolleys are elderly who have to endure long hours waiting to be admitted and assigned a bed.
In a statement the HSE said: ''The Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore is currently in a recruitment process to facilitate the opening of additional bed capacity for the winter period 2018/2019.''
The statement continued: ''In addition, Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore is working hard to improve the journey of all patients accessing our service through the increased utilisation of a discharge lounge, the establishment of a Short Stay Unit, Frail Intervention Team and opening of the Acute Medical Assessment Unit. These measures are focused on alleviating pressures on the Emergency Department and contributing to improving the patient flow and patient experience. In addition, management have brought together an unscheduled care group who will have oversight on how these and other changes can contribute to improve patient experience. The recent appointment of a Hospital Patient Flow Manager whose sole focus is improving our patient’s journey through the hospital is an important development in this endeavour.''
As of September this year, there were 171 patients waiting 18 months or longer for an inpatient appointment at Tullamore hospital.