Relocating services from Portlaoise hospital not ‘cogent, coherent or acceptable’ say nurses

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Protester marches for Portlaoise Hospital in 2011.
Nurses have hit out at the HSE over what they claim are “sudden moves” to downgrade Portlaoise hospital and relocate services to other already overcrowded facilities.

Nurses have hit out at the HSE over what they claim are “sudden moves” to downgrade Portlaoise hospital and relocate services to other already overcrowded facilities.

The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) is to seek immediate discussions, with the HSE, to discuss the implications arising from the decision to relocate certain services from the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise.

In a statment the INMO said it noted the recommendations, contained in the recent report from the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) and fully supports the delivery of services in a manner which ensures they are of the highest quality and excellence.

However, in the context of transferring services from Portlaoise, to other hospitals, the reality of the overcrowding, which currently exists in these receiving hospitals i.e. St. James’s, Tallaght, Tullamore, must be acknowledged and addressed.

The INMO said believes that it is self-evident that additional bed capacity, combined with additional staff, must be in place, in these receiving hospitals, before any services can be relocated, from Portlaoise, in a quality assured manner.

“The decision to commence relocating certain services i.e. complex surgery, away from Portlaoise, to other hospitals, is the simple part of this service reconfiguration. Before any services can be relocated, to any receiving hospital, the ability of that hospital, in terms of bed capacity and staffing, to receive additional services must be examined,” he said.

The INMO is writing, today, to the Group CEO, Dr. Susan O’Reilly, to seek an immediate meeting with her to discuss when the additional bed capacity, together with staff, will be in place to allow these services be relocated.

“In examining this issue we will be requiring the HSE to examine the trolley/ ward watch figures, for the first five months of this year, for all the receiving hospitals i.e. Tullamore, St. James’s, Tallaght, all of which demonstrate they already face daily overcrowding, increased demand over bed capacity and severe staff shortages.

“All of us want to ensure that the patient receives treatment in the optimum location designed to ensure the best possible outcome for any intervention or treatment. However simply to curtail a service in Portlaoise, and to relocate it into already overcrowded hospitals, is not a cogent, coherent or acceptable solution. Extra bed capacity, together with the additional staff required, must be in place before any service reconfiguration can take place”.