Minister Visits Midlands Health Services
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly today (Friday December 2nd) visited health services in the Midlands to meet staff and see recent developments in Emergency, Maternity and Palliative care services for patients in the region.
During his visit to the Midlands, Minister Donnelly visited:
- New Ambulatory Gynaecology Unit in the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise
- Emergency Department and site of the development of the recently announced New Respiratory Assessment Unit in Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise
- Emergency Department in Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore
- Site of the new hospice development on the grounds of the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore
€24 million capital investment has been approved for developments to increase infrastructural capacity and improve access for patients of the Midlands. Minister Donnelly met staff, patients and community hospice group members involved with these new capital infrastructures. This includes the development of a new specialist palliative care inpatient unit for the Midlands which is to be built on the grounds of Tullamore Hospital and the recently announced Respiratory Assessment Unit for the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise which is a two storey development which is planned for the enhancement of the existing Emergency Department at ground floor level and to provide additional clinical accommodation at first floor level which will develop.
He visited the recently established Ambulatory Gynaecology Unit at Portlaoise Hospital which aims to improve access and wait times for gynaecology patients for women in the Midlands. It is one of a number of such units opened around the country under national plans to improve outcomes for women through a new model of care. These services are being established as one-stop, “see-and-treat” gynaecology clinics in which women can be assessed and treated conveniently and efficiently following a GP referral. This new model will improve access to diagnostics and treatment, resulting in fewer hospital visits and reducing overall wait times for women.
The minister met with staff in the busy Emergency Departments of Portlaoise and Tullamore Hospital. More than 65,000* people so far this year have attended the Emergency Services this year and the HSE expects these numbers to increase further throughout the winter period. Staff talked to the new patient pathways and their work to improve patient experience times and integrated work, ensuring patients who do not need emergency services can be seen in the right place, at the right time. To support this Government and the HSE have invested more than €700,000 for Laois and Offaly to support a range of measures that will provide for the appropriate, safe and timely care for patients by ensuring, insofar as possible, effective levels of capacity and resources are in place to meet the expected growth in activity levels for the coming months ahead.
Some of the investment for the winter period and beyond provides for additional staffing and funding for;
- Enhanced access to diagnostics in ED
- Advanced care planning for hospital avoidance from long term care facilities, CNU's and private nursing homes
- Improved communications with GPs
- Review of regulations to allow safe discharging of patients to long term care facilities at weekends or evenings which is criteria based
- Community to expand nationally the routine daily “pull” approach utilising a single point of contact onsite for each acute hospital to facilitate egress
Minister Stephen Donnelly said, “This infrastructural developments we have seen today will future proof our service delivery model for the midlands and demonstrate the reform being delivered through Sláintecare. This new infrastructure will enhance the permanent capacity of our health service and benefit patients in the region and ensure the delivery of safe, timely access to high-quality care. I would like to acknowledge the work and commitment of staff, hospice groups and the wider community in Laois and Offaly for driving these important health care investments for the patient population.
Trevor O’Callaghan, CEO of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group said:“We are very pleased to welcome the Minister to the Midlands. Hospital and Community services in the midlands are committed to the delivery of high quality health services. There is a proud tradition of quality healthcare provision in the Midlands, over many generations. We are proud to continue developing the infrastructural capacity focused on ensuring patients in the midlands have timely access to the services they need at any stage of their life.
Des O’Flynn, Chief Officer, Community Health Care Midlands Louth and Meath said: “The development of a new specialist palliative care unit for the Midlands represents one of the most significant investments in health care in the midlands for many years. It’s the culmination of many years of work and advocacy by many local organisations, and groups and staff within the HSE. We’d like to thank An Taoiseach Micháel Martin, the government and the Department of Health for making this announcement. We’d also like to thank the hospice groups in the midlands, namely North Westmeath Hospice, South Westmeath Hospice, Longford Hospice, Laois Hospice, Offaly Hospice and all their volunteers who have raised funds for various palliative care initiatives throughout many years – including the new hospice.
In addition, to the above groups, we would like to thank Hooves4Hospice, the midlands group established by the Lions Clubs in the area who have fundraised specifically for the midlands hospice and the Irish Hospice Foundation who have advocated and supported the project since inception.This important work is a priority for us and we will advance this funding commitment and continue to work with all stakeholders as part of this exciting programme of development works.” (*data up to Oct 22)
Photo 1 - Lt to Rt - Deputy Barry Cowen, Catriona McDonald General Manager MRHT, Minister Stephen Donnelly Minister for Health,
Photo 2 - Lt to Rt - Minister Stephen Donnelly Minister for Health, Niamh Maher, Consultant Obstetrician, Deputy Sean Fleming, Ita Kinsella, Director of Midwifery, Nurse Sandra Kelly
Photo 3 - Some Member of MRHT Management Team - Lt to Rt - Louisa Burke Director of Nursing MRHT, Claire Conway, Shirley Keyes, Orlagh Claffey Chief Operation Officer DMHG, Minister Stephen Donnelly Minster for Health, Catriona McDonald General Manager MRHT
Photo 4 - Some Member of MRHP Management Team - Lt to Rt - John Joyce, Incoming General Manager MRHP, Kathleen Ward, Interim General Manager MRHP, Orlagh Claffey, Chief Operation Officer, Dublin Midland Hospital Group, Minister Stephen Donnelly, Minister for Health, Deputy Sean Fleming, Dr John Connaughton, Clinical Director MRHP, Niamh Maher, Consultant Obstetrician, Prof Michael O’Connell, Master of the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital and Clinical Lead for Women & Infants for the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group