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HIQA report on Tallaght Hospital must act as a wake up call – Crowe

1 July, 2011 - by Seán Crowe TD

Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has said he shares many of the concerns expressed by The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) who have highlighted the fact that Tallaght Hospital is not effectively managing the risks to patients requiring acute admission.

Deputy Seán Crowe who lives in Tallaght and is long time supporter of the hospital and member of the Tallaght Hospital Action Group said:

“Coming within a week of a damning assessment by Dublin City Coroner Dr Kieran Geraghty, who in the inquest into the death of Kilnamanagh man Thomas Walsh described Tallaght Hospital as being a ‘very dangerous place’ the similar concerns expressed by HIQA must serve as a wakeup call for the Hospital Administration and the new Health Minister James O' Reilly.

“It is clear that the continual gutting of funding has severely impacted on services at Tallaght Hospital. The A&E Department is the busiest in the country yet it is understaffed and under resourced. It is unacceptable, that a hospital designed to originally cater for 350,000 people annually is now expected to cope with a catchment area of over 530,000 people.

“I welcome the fact that HIQA has published the terms of reference for its statutory inquiry into the safety and governance of care at the hospital’s Emergency Department. I understand that the terms of reference, the inquiry will assess the quality, safety and governance, and accountability for services provided to patients who attend the Accident & Emergency Department.

“This inquiry will also look at specific patient cases where appropriate and an examine if the hospital has been effective in managing risks to patients.

“The death of Thomas Walsh who attended the hospital with severe ankle pains, tragically exposed the extent of the problems at the hospital.

“The coroner’s report highlighted how he had been moved away from the emergency department to a so-called ‘virtual ward’, a corridor area with no real facilities like oxygen, monitors or life saving specialised equipment.

“This latest finding is a massive indictment on how this State’s Health apparatus treats its citizens whenever they become ill and need treatment.

“It also emerged that last year in the Emergency Department a patient suffered a cardiac arrest on a chair while awaiting admission.

“Despite the dedication of its overstretched staff, Tallaght Hospital is failing the people who depend on its services when presenting – the lack of resources means it is not currently able for the demands being place on the system.

“This Government needs to urgently address the problems of resources and key personnel in Tallaght as a matter of the utmost priority.

“If they don’t, then more and more families will face further heartbreak in what is supposed to be a modern flagship healthcare facility.” ENDS

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