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