Clonmel, 18th February 2018- The recent approval of new developments at South Tipperary General Hospital, including a 40-bed modular unit, capital investment for a 50-bed new-construct unit and improved out-patient facilities proves once again that people power works.
The Save Our Acute Hospital Services Committee welcomes developments at the hospital and commends and thanks all those who played a part in this very positive and significant outcome including the public, patients and their families, hospital staff, local public representatives and Oireachtas members.
Were it not for the Committees project and success in stopping the transfer of all the hospitals acute services to Kilkenny and Waterford, the future developments of the hospital as announced this week would never have happened. That success was a game-changer for the hospitals future development.
The knowledge that 15,000 people from all over Tipperary and indeed parts of County Waterford turned out on the streets of Clonmel and, importantly, that they would turn out again if necessary sent a message to the Health Service Executive, the Department of Health and the Government that could not be ignored. South Tipperary General Hospital must be retained and developed. And, again, I would like to commend those that took to the streets. The publics continued contribution is vital to the hospital and it sets South Tipperary General apart.
South Tipperary was alone in defying the powers-that-be in stopping the transfer of services and the downgrading of the hospital. The Health Service Executive and the Department of Health succeeded in downgrading Nenagh, Ennis, Mallow, Monaghan and Roscommon.
The success of the Save Our Acute Hospital Services Committee established a platform for the future upgrading of the hospital, for the development of services and for a solution to the trolley crisis.
The Committee, working on a united basis with all stakeholders, met successive Ministers for Health including Minister James Reilly, Minister Leo Varadkar and Minister Simon Harris to impress upon them the need to solve overcrowding and to develop the hospital.
The Committees job now is to ensure that the promises made are implemented, and as speedily as possible, and to that effect the committee is again meeting the South West Hospital Group and South Tipperary General Hospital Management on Monday the 19th of February to progress the construction of the 40-bed modular unit.
The closure of St. Michael’s In-patient Psychiatric Unit at South Tipperary General Hospital by the Minister Kathleen Lynch was a huge blow to patients and their families and it is now widely accepted to have been a mistake. South Tipperary patients must now travel to Kilkenny for in-patient treatment and North Tipperary patients to Ennis. This is totally impractical and is leading to late admissions, inappropriate early discharges, severe over-crowding and harrowing difficulties for patients and their families who must travel to support their loved ones.
The Committee and Oireachtas members have already met Mr. Jim Daly, Minister with responsibility for Mental Health Services with a view to returning in-patient beds to Clonmel. The Minister will visit the services in Clonmel on Tuesday the 20th of February to see the situation for himself and to engage with members of the Save Our Acute Hospital Services Committee, Mental Health Services Management and Oireachtas members on the issue.
There have been positive exchanges with the Minister and local Health Service Executive Mental Health Management recently.
The Committee and all stake-holders are determined that in-patient psychiatric beds will be returned to Clonmel.
Seamus Healy T.D. Chairperson Save Our Acute Hospital Services Committee
South Tipperary General Hospital
The Save Our Acute Hospital Services Committee welcomes the long awaited approval for the construction of a 40 bed modular inpatient unit at South Tipperary General Hospital announced by the Minister for Health last Friday.
The announcement is the culmination of almost 2 years work and pressure by the Committee, patients and their families, hospital staff, local and Oireachtas public representatives and the general public. The delivery of these beds by June 2018, will require a hugely concentrated effort and commitment and the dovetailing of a number of processes including tendering, planning, building, fitting out and staffing.
In order to drive this project forward, The Save Our Acute Hospital Services Committee and Oireachtas Members will be meeting H.S.E. Officials on an ongoing basis, starting the first week of November, to make sure targets are set and met.
These modular beds are, of course, only an interim and partial solution to the continuing crisis at the hospital. The delivery of these beds and the crucial future development of permanent beds, new wards and upgraded facilities will require a continued united effort to deliver for the people of the County. The Hospital Committee policy over the last 9 years of inclusivity and united effort of the public, patients, staff, hospital management, the media and the people of all political persuasions and none has been particularly successful.
In this Context, the Committee welcomes the assurance by the Minister for Health, at our meeting on Friday last, that capital funding will be allocated in November’s Capital Budget to allow this process to commence.
The Save Our Acute Hospital Services Committee is seriously concerned at the unacceptable level of mental health services in the County.
The closure of St Michael’s Unit and the transfer of acute inpatient psychiatric beds to Kilkenny and Ennis has been nothing short of disastrous and despite promises of a Rolls Royce community based service, we are now left with an utterly inadequate, under resourced, underfunded and understaffed service.
At our Committee’s request, on Friday last, Minister Harris has agreed that Mr Jim Daly T.D., Minister with responsibility for Mental Health Services will meet a deputation from the Save Our Acute Hospital Services Committee and Oireachtas Members shortly to address these issues.
Seamus Healy T.D. Chairperson Save Our Acute Hospital Services Committee 19/9/2017
The Taoiseach’s reply today regarding South Tipperary General Hospital was absolutely disappointing and unacceptable. As the Taoiseach, the HSE, the management of the hospital and the management of the South-South West hospital group well know, the situation in South Tipperary General Hospital is absolutely atrocious.
Last night Deputy Healy spoke in the Dáil during which time he reminded the Minister for Health of his promises in relation to South Tipperary General Hospital. In particular he sought the urgent provision of additional beds as promised by Minister Harris on his visit to the hospital last year.
Nine months ago Minister Harris visited South Tipperary General Hospital, 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. South Tipperary General Hospital is 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.
Waiting Lists – Statement in the Dáil 09 February 2017
Seamus Healy TD:
The recent “RTE Investigates” programme told us what we have all known for many years. The nation was rightly shocked. It put the human face of pain and suffering on the figures. The public has been misled. The term “alternative facts” comes to mind. The public is entitled to, must be told and know the truth. The long waiting lists are the result of cuts to services by successive governments, for example, 2,000 beds have been taken out of the system, there is overcrowding in accident and emergency departments, posts are not filled and there is a moratorium on posts. I have been raising these issues for some time.
I recently raised the issue of the urology waiting list at University Hospital Waterford. A letter received by one of my constituents puts the case very plainly:
We are writing to inform you that you have been placed on … waiting list. We will forward you an appointment in due course.
You have been prioritised as: URGENT.
You should expect to be seen within 48+ months.
If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact us.
The constituent must wait more than four years. The reply from the HSE and the Minister, which I received only yesterday, confirms that there is a major problem at University Hospital Waterford. It states, “The clinical risk for the Urology Services is on the Corporate Risk Register and is rated high risk.” The management at the hospital has applied for additional resources, two consultant urologists, support staff and funding to provide a proper service to the hospital. Those resources have not been provided. Will the Minister provide those resources not just for University Hospital Waterford but for all those from the south east, including Tipperary, using the services at the hospital?