Barry meets Minister about Mallow Hospital
Prior to his visit to Mallow last Friday, Health Minister James Reilly met with local TD Tom Barry to discuss the future of Mallow General Hospital. During that meeting, Minister Reilly outlined his commitment to implement better quality health care for patients and confirmed that a Special Delivery Unit is to be established to make changes happen. He also indicated proposals to upgrade IT to monitor emergency departments around the country in a real time basis.
Minister Reilly also indicated that he wants regional emergency departments and moved to ease concern about HIQA’s investigations, noting that HIQA is there to identify problems, and the HSE’s remit is to fix these shortcomings and not to close the service on the promise of something wonderful tomorrow. No services are to be withdrawn, he said, without fully examining the consequences.
Minister Reilly told Deputy Barry that the HIQA report was initiated without any formal complaint and that the investigation team found Mallow to be a well maintained clean hospital with no issues around care or treatment. There is, however, a problem with the over reliance on the good will of consultants and staff out of hours and, he indicated, the HSE took its eye off the ball in applying the findings of the Ennis report. The HSE has been written to and warned that this is not acceptable.
The HSE needs to provide a uniformity of care for 4 million people, the Minister said, and he believes that Mallow General Hospital has always acted on best practice. It is his understanding, he continued, that the emergency department will remain in Mallow, under an integrated grouped system which will see patients flowing in both directions for the most appropriate care.
He identified, in the past, a major problem in the failure to redirect more appropriate care from the bigger hospitals to the smaller hospitals. This will now happen, Minister Reilly promised. Also, he said, his department will address Non-Consultant Hospital Doctor (NCHD) issues by extending the Cork/ Kerry medical/surgical model to Mallow; i.e. NCHD consultants will be appointed to the service a rotate to all hospitals. Minister Reilly insisted that he does not want to see patients going to CUH to lie on trolleys.