Leaked 'Strategic' plan finally confirms Portlaoise hospital downgrade

The information health management did not want the public to see untill it was too late is finally laid bare

Leaked 'Strategic' plan finally confirms Portlaoise hospital downgrade

Dr Susan O'Reilly

By Conor Ganly

The five year Strategic Plan for hospitals in the Dublin Midlands Region confirms all the fears the people of Laois have for the future of Portlaoises hospital.

Central to the implementation of its five year plan is the sacrificing of Portlaoise as a front line hospital.

Instead the HSE's Dublin Midlands Hospital Group wants to concentrate resources in Tallaght, Tullamore and St James' hospitals.

A reduced role is envisaged for Naas General.

Management's rationale for change is that: “prompt and optimum care for patients with serious medical and surgical conditions can only be provided where there are adequate number of staff with essential skills to provide 24/7 services.

It lists the service priorities as follows:

- Urgent and emergency services will be redesigned to integrate between smaller and larger sites providing the optimum ans safest configuration to deliver high quality emergency care.

- We will formalise a trauma network between Tallaght hospital, the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore and St James' Hospital and align the development with the forthcoming National Trauma Report.

- We will expand emergency department capacity, principally Tallaght Hospital and the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore.

- We will develop 24/7 General Practitioner referred medical assesment unit and 12/7 local injuries unit in the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise in line with national clinical care programmes models of care.

- The group recognises the importance of working with GPs and the Irish College of GPs in order to achieve these changes.

The DMHG says that in excess of 80% of patients in hospitals are admitted through A&Es. It admits that the biggest challenges facing the Acute Hospital services are coping with these numbers.

In the strategy, health management commit to investing in the recruitment of senior decision makers in acute medicine services.

It pledges to invest in 'improving patient flow pathways within hospitals and to communities'.

Also promised is a committment to work with GPs and other community partners to help develop intergrated care programmes.

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