Changes in governance at Tallaght Hospital must be accompanied by increased funding – Crowe
Speaking in the Dáil today Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West, Seán Crowe highlighted GP shortages in his constituency and issues to do with Tallaght Hospital.
Deputy Crowe said: “Many people cannot access the General Medical Services Scheme because of the exclusivity of the current arrangements.
“Some within the medical profession want to see the retention of the status quo. This is untenable as there are too few GPs and too few GPs who have access to GMS contracts which allow them to treat medical card patients.
“Today, the health minister James Reilly announced a series of new initiatives to reform and modernise the governance structures of Tallaght Hospital.
“Whilst I welcome this announcement, the Minister must address the under-resourcing of Tallaght Hospital. It has constantly advised the HSE, of the staffing and other resources required to rectify imbalances and any restructuring of the management structures at the hospital will make little or no difference if money is not found to ensure the hospital functions properly.
“Recent HSE figures show that Tallaght Hospital sees more people in its emergency department, treats more inpatients and sees in excess of 30 per cent more patients in the outpatient department than the next busiest hospital. “Despite this, it has the fewest numbers of consultant doctors of the four Dublin teaching hospitals and there is also a shortfall on the requisite number of consultants.
“In a review of the hospital conducted by Dr Maurice Hayes in September 2010, he reported that, relative to other Irish hospitals, ‘the degree of understaffing in Tallaght Hospital in 2009 was substantially greater than in the other sampled hospitals’.”
“A breakdown of Dublin hospitals’ annual financial allocations yields startling figures: its allocation is €176 million, compared with St James’s €220 million and €200 million at St Vincent’s. This equates to €800 per person in St James’s, €727 in St Vincent’s – and €350 per person living within the catchment area of Tallaght Hospital.
“Clearly there are tremendous challenges facing Tallaght Hospital and this is exacerbated by the shortage of GPs servicing local communities comparative to other similar areas. Galway and Tallaght have similar populations of more than 70,000, yet Galway city has more than 40 GPs, compared to 26 GPs for Tallaght.
“Added to this is absence of an out-of-hours GP on-call system which means people have nowhere else to turn except the hospital’s emergency department. We have the added pressures that will result from the closure of the St Brigid’s Residential Care home in Crooksling, which provide highly specialised care for high-dependent patients,” he said.