HSE Interim CEO Stephen Mulvany visits Hospitals in Offaly and Laois and HSE Community Healthcare Organisation services in the Midlands

HSE Media Release
Thursday, 27th October 2022

The Interim CEO of the HSE Stephen Mulvany has urged healthcare workers to get their flu vaccines and Covid booster vaccines, on a visit to health services in Counties Offaly and Laois today, Thursday 27th October. This is part of a series of visits to services around the country.

Mr Mulvany highlighted the significant increase in Covid hospitalisations and what that means for the rest of the hospital and community healthcare system.

Emergency Departments continue to be extremely busy with high numbers of patients attending, many of whom present with complex needs requiring admission. A range of initiatives are already being implemented as part of the National Service Plan to alleviate pressures in emergency care. These include additional capacity in terms of beds, staffing and strengthening Community Care Teams. Focus for improvement as part of the Winter Plan includes reductions in the number of patients accommodated on trolleys, reductions in the number of DTOCs (delayed transfers of care), and reductions in overall length of stay within the acute hospital, to support improved patient experience times (PETs) for all patients, and a particular focus for those patients aged over 75.

Mr Mulvany said, “As we face into winter, we are already seeing seasonal illnesses take hold, with flu in circulation and a marked increase in RSV in young children, we recorded 325 cases last week when compared to 177 cases the previous week. Last week we also reported 18 Covid-19 outbreaks our hospitals leading to visiting restrictions in some sites which impacts our EDs, patients and our staff as they follow infection prevention and control guidance.”

Speaking about flu and Covid vaccinations, he urged staff to protect themselves, their patients and their families. “The potential spread of Covid and low booster uptake among healthcare workers is a worry for the health service ahead of winter in terms of the health and wellbeing of our workforce as well as the potential impact of staff illness and absenteeism on our ability to deliver health services. I urge staff to follow the example of the thousands and thousands of staff members who have received the flu vaccine already, and encourage all staff to take up the offer of a Covid booster vaccine.”

During his visit, Mr Mulvany met staff involved in a range of initiatives and heard about how acute and community services are collaborating and integrating to improve health outcomes. An important element of the visit is to acknowledge and thank staff for their work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the Midlands Regional Hospital Tullamore and Portlaoise he met with the hospital’s management and the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group CEO. In the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore he met staff working in Emergency and Outpatient services to see the improvements in patient flow and integrated care initiatives which are reducing ED presentations, length of stay and improving access and patient experience through collaborative working with community colleagues. While in the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise he had an opportunity to see the new Ambulatory Gynaecology hub and hear about service developments which are improving access, service capacity and waiting times for patients. He thanked staff at both hospitals for their work and took the opportunity to say farewell to Hospital Manager, Michael Knowles who is retiring next week after 41 years of service in the health service.

Mr Mulvany also visited the HSE offices in Arden Road in Tullamore for a presentation on Enhanced Community Care, jointly chaired by CEO of Dublin Midlands Hospital Group and the Chief Office of Midlands Louth Meath Community Health Organisation. He talked to the Laois/Offaly Home Support Team and then visited Tullamore Primary Care Centre to meet the Offaly CAMHS team, Laois and Offaly ECD, CIT or Reablement Team and the Enhanced Community Care (ECC) Teams.

Last updated on: 28 / 10 / 2022