Clonmel hospital 'hotel' unlikely to be ready for this winter

Clonmel to be included in government's next capital plan - claims Kelly


South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel

The forty bed hotel-style unit envisaged for South Tipperary General Hospital to alleviate chronic overcrowding is now “highly unlikely” to be in place this winter, according to the Labour Party health spokesman Deputy Alan Kelly.

He said that building temporary accommodation was heralded and promised by some public representatives a year ago as being a solution for last winter but added - “as we know now, that has not materialised”.

The Tipperary TD said it is now highly unlikely that it will even be in place for next Winter.

“It was ridiculous and naive to believe that this could be delivered that quickly in the first place” said Deputy Kelly.

The Labour Party spokesman said he had held a number of meetings with Health Minister Simon Harris and made it very clear to him that the ultimate solution to the situation in Clonmel was a complete redevelopment of the hospital site to create greater capacity and pathways for patient management.

Deputy Kelly said he now understands that South Tipperary General Hospital will be in the government's Capital Plan announced after the summer.

“In preparation for that, a brief is currently being finalised in order to develop a Master Plan for the South Tipperary General Hospital campus. The Master Plan will provide for the orderly development of the campus and ensure the hospital has a bright future” said Deputy Kelly.

He said that a brief was currently being finalised in order to develop a Master Plan for the South Tipperary General Hospital campus which will provide for the orderly development of the campus and ensure the hospital has a bright future.

He said he made it very clear to Minister Harris that the overcrowding at the hospital was continuing at “worrying levels”.

“As part of the Winter Initiative Plan 2016-2017, a number of actions were put in place in Clonmel, including improving early discharging; increasing access to Community Intervention Teams; increasing access to diagnostics; and providing additional home care packages. T

“hese were all welcome but they haven't had any dramatic impact on the volume of overcrowding in the Hospital” insisted Deputy Kelly.

The Tipperary TD said it was quite obvious to everyone that there are capacity challenges at South Tipperary General Hospital and that a review of capacity needs is almost concluded.

“The most immediate and effective response available to the HSE was identified as the “fit out” of additional space for 11 trolley bays on the first floor of the hospital to alleviate pressure on the Emergency Department.

This was prioritised for funding and completed recently. A recruitment process has been undertaken to provide staff for this new area. It is anticipated that this additional capacity will open in September or October of this year” he said.

In relation to the Cashel Health Campus, which includes Our Lady’s Hospital, Deputy Kelly said under the Capital Plan and the 2018 Estimates Process there is a proposal to develop a campus that has a predominant focus on older patients, but one which recognises the need to also address the needs of other age groups.

The services proposed can be developed in the existing buildings at the former Our Lady’s Hospital.

Independent TD Seamus Healy, speaking in the Dail, reminded the Minister for Health of his promises in relation to South Tipperary General Hospital.

“Nine months ago Minister Harris visited South Tipperary General Hospital and he described the conditions at the hospital as utterly unacceptable.

He said "solutions must be found" and that a decision would be made by the end of the year (2016). Nothing has happened.” said Deputy Healy.

Deputy Healy said South Tipperary General Hospital was a progressive, forward looking, efficient hospital but unfortunately despite the best efforts of staff there is horrendous chaos at the hospital.

“Minister Harris must fulfil his promise and make funds available immediately for 40 additional inpatient beds to address the chaos at the hospital caused by the policies of this and previous Governments,” he said.