The decision by the Minister for Health to approve the commencement of the procurement process for additional beds at South Tipperary General Hospital is another success for the Save Our Acute Hospital Services Committee.
The Committee, embracing all stakeholders, has been pursuing this project for some time. It is a decision which was expected and one that is very welcome.
As chairperson of the Committee, I want to thank all those who worked together on this issue, including the general public, hospital patients and their families, hospital staff and their representatives, the media, especially the Nationalist newspaper and Tipp FM radio, hospital management and local and national Public Representatives
These hotel type 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 8 years of inclusivity and united effort of the public, patients, staff, hospital management the media and people of all political persuasions and none has been particularly successful.
I want to appeal to all concerned to put aside any personal or political differences and to continue to work together for the future of hospital services in County Tipperary.
The early delivery of the additional beds will require a hugely concentrated effort and commitment and the dovetailing of a number of processes including procurement, planning, building, fitting-out and staffing. It is vital that this be done with the greatest possible haste.
Other measures are also necessary to address the overcrowding crisis at the hospital.
· Full time Community Intervention Teams
· Additional Home Care Packages
· Reversal of the cuts to Home Help hours
· Additional Step-down Beds
The Save our Acute Hospital Services Committee sees the commencement of the promised Phase 2 development at the hospital as both urgent and vitally important. It has raised this issue on an ongoing basis with HSE officials and previous Ministers for Health including Minister Varadkar.
Minister Harris must now instruct the HSE to complete a Development Control Plan for the Hospital and commit Capital Funds to the hospital in Budget 2017.
The Development Control Plan should detail Phase 2 developments at the hospital, including new medical, maternity, paediatric and acute psychiatry inpatient wards, together with support facilities and services.
The closure of St Michael’s Unit and the transfer of acute in-patient psychiatric beds to Kilkenny and Ennis has been nothing short of disastrous and these beds must be returned to South Tipp General Hospital in the short term.
The Committee will be raising these issues directly with the minister on his visit to the hospital on the 1st of October next