Minister must deliver on hospital

April 16th, 2008 - Pat Breen

STRONG LESSONS MUST BE LEARNED AND HEALTH MINISTER MUST DELIVER ON ENNIS GENERAL HOSPITAL REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT – BREEN.

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare TD Pat Breen warned today that strong lessons must be learned from the findings of a HSE report on Clostridium difficile at Ennis General Hospital. He said that the findings showed that the hospital had been subject to years of Government neglect. Deputy Breen is calling on the Minister for Health to deliver the funding for an essential re-development project at the hospital and to meet with the four Clare Oireachtas Members to discuss the crisis.

“Strong lessons must be learned from this entire episode. The families of the bereaved have had to bear the impact of these findings and have had to relive the death of their loved ones once again in recent days, my sympathy is with these families and the HSE must ensure that every support and assistance required by the families is put in place.”

“Minister Harney cannot wash her hands either, she must also act, she described the findings of a review into increased presence of Clostridium difficile at Ennis General as ‘serious’. This is something of an understatement. Years of neglect have forced the Staff and Management of Ennis General Hospital to operate on a shoe string. The hospital is seriously overcrowded and has no isolation facilities.”

“Approval has been issued by the HSE to progress the redevelopment project at the hospital with a budget of €38.75 million. However, no funding has been made available for this project in the 2008 Capital Plan as the Mid-West Acute Service Review is still underway. A draft copy of this review is sitting on the Minister’s desk and it’s high time she turned her attention to it.

“I am urging the Minister to ensure that the re-development project is delivered.”

“I am also calling on her to meet with the four Clare Dáil representatives to discuss the findings of the report and the infrastructural needs of Ennis General.”

“The report shows that the hospital was struggling with overcrowding, faulty equipment and hygiene control and, while the levels of the bug may now be under control, a full discussion with the Minister would help to restore public confidence which has been badly shaken.

“Most importantly, there is an urgent need to implement the recommendations of the report

“The Ennis experience shows up the need for a national campaign to prevent the spread of superbugs and Fine Gael has been calling for some time for a uniform system of detecting and reporting superbugs as well as other measures. It is welcome that Clostridium difficile will become notifiable from early May and that the National Surveillance Centre is preparing national guidelines for publication in late May.

“However, progress has been far too slow and it is impossible to tackle superbugs without adequate information on their prevalence. The lessons of Ennis should be learned so that the same situation is not allowed to occur somewhere else.”