Abbeyleix hospital upgrade plan could help HSE tackle the trolly crisis

New and expanded model of care in plan

Michelle Hogan


Michelle Hogan


abbeyleix hospital gp

Abbeyleix GP Dr John Madden speaking at a protest against the closure of Abbeyleix Community Hospital in 2011. Pic: Alf Harvey

Campaigners and Laois TDs hope the HSE will see the light this week and adopt new model for healthcare at Abbeyleix hospital that could see the hospital playing a role in tackling the trolley crisis.

The model was drawn up in 2012 and outlines a number of ways that care could be improved and managed at Abbeyleix to alleviate some of the strain on other hospitals such as Portlaoise.

The plan was drawn up as part of a consultation process which halted the closure of the community unit.

The HSE has never followed up but sinces 2012, the numbers cared for at the unit have dropped . There are just two long stay patients. Respite care is provided to a number of patients.

The upgrade propsed by Dr John Madden and colleagues on the Abbeyleix Hospital Action Committee and would see the facility transformed into a multidisciplinary unit with three sections; the continuing provision of elderly care, Day Hospital Care and a Rehabilitation component.


The proposed new model would see the hospital developed into a 50 bed unit “large enough to allow flexibility but small enough to ensure a caring, family-type atmosphere.”

Some beds would be allocated to long stay care.

Other beds would be on a short term basis and help to tackle the ongoing trolley crisis at emergency units.

A number of beds would be allocated for four week high intensity rehabilitation.

Some of the beds would be for emergency admissions, palliative care and step down care.

This updated Abbeyleix hospital would be small but fully functioning covering a huge variety of needs.

It would have a Consultant/GP service, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, mental health nurse, podiatrist, social worker,dietician, psychologist/counselling service and home care supports.

These suggestions are based on “current needs, demographic trends and current healthcare policy.”

A number of physical changes would need to be made and the proposal suggests an Implementation Task Group be set up to govern these changes.