Minister postpones visit to mark €5m A&E hospital upgrade
By Mary Dennehy
THE Minister for Health’s visit to Tallaght Hospital’s upgraded A&E department has been postponed due to Dáil business, The Echo has been told.
Minister Leo Vradker was due to visit the hospital’s emergency department yesterday (Thursday), to mark a €5 million upgrade to the space-tight unit – which, as one of the busiest A&Es in the country, is waiting to meet staffing requirements before all patient areas can be fully opened.
Alongside meeting with staff and management, the Ministerial visit was also set to generate some positive publicity for Tallaght Hospital and the health service as whole, after last month’s revelations that patient safety continued to be compromised nationally as sick and elderly people lay on trolleys for long periods of time.
When contacted by The Echo, Tallaght Hospital said: “Due to Dáil commitments, the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, will not be able to proceed with his planned visit to mark the €5 million upgrade of Tallaght Hospital’s Emergency Depart-ment. The visit has been postponed for a future date.”
The expansion of Tallaght Hospital’s emergency department involves the provision of an additional six major cubicles, three isolation rooms, five ambulatory care cubicles, a Rapid Assessment Treatment unit, additional triage space and bereavement rooms.
A hospital spokesman said: “The floor area of the facility has been increased by 50 per cent and includes the installation of state-of-the-art monitoring and diagnostic technology.
“The additional space and equipment provided, combined with integrated care pathways with the community, will enhance the services the hospital provides to its patients.”
When asked if the upgraded department was fully open and fully staffed, Tallaght Hospital said: “Tallaght Hospital is engaged in an ongoing recruitment campaign, with the support of nursing unions, to complement the full operation of the greatly expanded Emergency Department.
“Funding support for the recruitment programme has been provided by the HSE and recruitment is taking place both nationally and internationally to fill the extra posts required to fully open the remaining patient areas.
“The remaining areas will be opened on a phased basis as the recruitment process progresses.”
As reported initially in The Echo, the A&E was due to be fully opened last April.