TD says trolley problems at Portlaoise hospital poses risk to health

Sinn Féin TD calls for long term commitment to Portlaoise hospital

Conor Ganly

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Conor Ganly

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Overcrowding at Portlaoise Hospital

The Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise

Sinn Féin Laois TD Brian Stanley is called for a 5 to 10 Year Plan for Portlaoise Hospital to recruit and attract qualified staff and to secure the necessary capital investment.

He said the preferred bed capacity in a hospital is 80%, i.e. 20% of the beds are free, with 90% capacity the accepted limit. He said that at present Portlaoise Hospital is working at 110% capacity by using trolleys in the Emergency Department and along the corridors and this "poses a serious risk to patients’ health".

However, he said simply supplying extra beds will not solve the problem as extra staff will also be required and these are not available.

“Without a structured, cohesive Plan in place the Hospital will not be adequately resourced and will find it impossible to attract the required staff which are so badly needed. This is already a problem," he said.

The TD said that without a long term plan the Maternity Unit will not be upgraded, the proposed new Out Patients Department on the Block Road will not be built and the future of the Emergency Department will not be secured.

Dep Stanley said the preferred bed capacity in a hospital is 80%, i.e. 20% of the beds are free, with 90% capacity the accepted limit.  

"At present Portlaoise Hospital is working at 110% capacity by using trolleys in the ED and along the corridors and this poses a serious risk to patients’ health. However simply supplying extra beds will not solve the problem as extra staff will also be required and these are not available," he said.

With regard to staffing levels, Portlaoise currently has 660 WTEs (Whole Time Equivalents). He claimed this includes almost 60 agency staff.

"There are a number of vacant maternity posts and general nursing posts as well as another temporary ED Consultant to be filled but the Hospital is finding it difficult to recruit because of the uncertainty surrounding the future of the hospital," he said.

"It is vital that Health Minister, Simon Harris, immediately removes all the long standing uncertainty surrounding Portlaoise Hospital and announces a long term plan to secure its future and to upgrade services appropriate to a Model 3 Hospital. He received that message loud and clear when he visited the Hospital recently,” concluded the TD.