HSE hospital group accepts that there issues at Portlaoise but says progress has been made

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The hospital in Portlaoise.

Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise

The HSE hospital group that manages Portlaoise hospital has welcomed a new report on the hospital but insists that significant progress has been made at the hospital.

The Dublin Midlands Hospital Group (DMHG) welcomes today’s publication by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) of its report on the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise (MRHP/the hospital). 

"All of us – management, staff, and the wider community – share a commitment to ensuring that the patients of Portlaoise Hospital receive the highest possible standard of care.

"The progress made over the course of the past 18 months is due to investment, recruitment, and in particular the commitment of local clinical and management staff.

"The hospital’s 2016 budget of €51.7 million is €6.8 million or 15% greater than its 2012 base.  In that period, there has been an 18% increase in staffing levels across maternity, paediatric, medicine and emergency services, as well as investment in quality and safety.  There are now six funded obstetrics and gynaecological posts, four of which are joint appointments with the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital.  Funding for midwifery posts is consistent with Birthrate Plus national standards.  

The hospital group said the Portlaoise hospital is proceeding with recruiting an additional emergency medicine consultant to extend supervisory hours in the Emergency Department and the DMHG is ensuring that transfer protocols for complex surgery are clearly defined.

It said the hospital is committed to ensuring its consultants refer directly to consultants at the DMHG’s complex surgery hospitals (St. James Hospital, Tallaght Hospital, and the Midlands Regional Hospital Tullamore). The ‘no refusal’ policy is working, and we acknowledge the hospitals’ commitment to our patient transfer policy.

"Notwithstanding the substantial financial and staff investment in the hospital, HIQA recognises that significant challenges remain, including general services, particularly in the Emergency Department and Critical Care. Recruitment, and the dependency on agency staff is also a notable challenge.

"In compliance with HIQA’s May 2015 report, the DMHG, in collaboration with the Acute Hospitals Division of the Health Services Executive (HSE), National Clinical Programme leaders and the National Ambulance Service, has developed an Action Plan for hospital services in the midlands. This plan is being submitted to the Department of Health for its review," he said.

HSE noted that HIQA found:

- Significant improvements in corporate and clinical governance, and management structures at the hospital;

- Improvement in maternity services and the benefit of developing the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital and MRHP clinical network partnership;

- Close working relationships between the hospitals in the DMHG and improved integration of services that have helped in addressing the deficiencies noted by HIQA in May 2015.