Minister for Health Simon Harris
Just one capital project is planned for Portlaoise hospital over the next five years but there is no major project on a Dublin Midlands Hospital Group (DMHG) wish list of significant projects for its sister facilities.
The HSE's DMHG has set out an ambitious set of projects likely to be costly in its five year strategy for hospitals in Dublin, Kildare, Laois and Offaly.
The only project identified for the Midlands Region Hospital, Portlaoise up to 2023 is unspecified 'ambulatory care facilities'. Ambulatory is medical care on an outpatient basis, including diagnosis, observation, consultation, treatment, intervention, and rehabilitation services.
In 2016, some €5 million was spent building a Medical Assessment Unit that would replace the A&E. The spending on the MAU was the first major investment in Portlaoise since the A&E opened in the past decade. Last week Laois TD Brian Stanley was told last week that €300,000 was spent to commission the MAU in 2017.
There is no plan to revamp the maternity unit but extensive investment is planned for the Coombe which now manages the unit.
The DMHG plan, which would see A&E closing in Portlaoise, says infrastructural developments are 'key enablers to deliver on the key strategic aims'.
The Strategy, which has been described as a blueprint by its CEO Dr Susan O'Reilly, acknowledges that the challenges to delivering include 'justifiable increase in the health budget and subsequent allocation' to meet 'current demand'.
Other challenges include: a need for 'appropriate resources'; ability to attract staff; rising cost of healthcare; new funding models.
Minister for Health Simon Harris will have the final say on what happens to Portlaoise hospital.
The projects identified are:
• New renal dialysis unit (Tallaght Hospital).
• New critical care unit (Tallaght Hospital).
• New theatres, ward and NICU refurbishment (Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital).
• Day ward and endoscopy suite (Naas General Hospital).
• Ambulatory care facilities (Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise).
• Emergency department and ward expansion (Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore).
• New facilities for additional Linac in collaboration with NCCP (St. Luke’s Radiation Oncology Network, Beaumont Hospital and St. James’s Hospital).
• Strategic clinical priorities for campus development.
• Strategic planning with St. James’s Hospital and Trinity College Dublin to develop a Cancer Institute.
• Endoscopy decontamination upgrade (St. James’s Hospital and Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore).
• Equipment replacement programme across the Group.
• Development of multi-storey inpatient facility in Tallaght Hospital.