Transfer of complex surgery will “enhance” services at Portlaoise hospital says HSE

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly

A view of the large turnout for the Protest March against the downgrading of Portlaoise General Hospital in 2011.                                        Photo Denis Byrne.
The following is the statment from the HSE on the future of services Portlaoise Hospital.

The following is the statment from the HSE on the future of services Portlaoise Hospital.

“The HSE can confirm that complex surgery (bowel surgery) in Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise (MRHP) will be transferred to St James Hospital or Tullamore as the volumes are too low to maintain the requisite expertise of clinical staff.

Currently, all categories of surgical patients could arrive at the Emergency Department (ED) at the MRHP. The Hospital Group in collaboration with MRHP and other hospitals in the Group need to plan for how some of these patients can be transferred and cared for in the most appropriate high-volume surgical services within the Group.

There is a progressive complex planning process (involving many interdependencies) commencing for surgery in Portlaoise. In the medium to longer-term, this process might have an impact on ED opening hours (overnight). This planning process will be done with the engagement and input of relevant staff.

Separately, the Group plans to grow elective day surgery at Portlaoise. These cases are less complex and represent an increasing number of procedures.

Despite some media reports to the contrary, maternity services at MRHP will continue as usual. GPs are welcome to refer patients to the hospital in the normal manner.

It is expected that there will be approximately 2,000 births in its maternity unit in 2015.

Dr Susan O’Reilly, the recently appointed Chief Executive of the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group said ‘The planned and systematic transfer of complex surgery from MRHP to St James and Tullamore Hospital will be a further enhancement to the safety and quality of services at Portlaoise and is in keeping with the recommendations of two HSE Reports and the HIQA Report into services at the hospital.’

In recent months, substantial investment and enhancement measures have been put in place to ensure a safe level of services at the hospital.

Central to these new arrangements is the formalisation of existing clinical pathways between the MRHP’s maternity unit and the Coombe Woman’s and Infants University Hospital. This includes the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the HSE and the Coombe Hospital in March 2015. This Memorandum progresses a plan for the Coombe to assume governance and management of maternity and infants services deliver in Portlaoise.

Improvements in MRHP include a number of additional consultants posts (anaesthetics, surgery, emergency medicine, paediatrics, obstetrics, physicians) and 16 midwifery posts. Furthermore, investment in patient quality and safety, complaints management and patient engagement have also occurred over the last year.

As a consequence of these measures taken, the HSE is confident that MRHP provides a safe level of service to its patients in the midlands area today.”