A row has erupted over who got a €2.2m upgrade at Nenagh Hospital to include a new medical wing containing 16 single bed units and a new day room.
Junior Minister Alan Kelly, Deputy Noel Coonan and the HSE said the upgrade follows a highly critical Hiqa report into the hospital late last year.
However, Deputy Michael Lowry has claimed that the work was a follow on from his deal on Nenagh Hospital with the previous Fianna Fail-led Government.
Deputy Kelly gave the credit to Suzanne Dunne “for all her work in order to make this happen, along with the fantastic staff in the hospital. They are a credit to Nenagh and surrounds for the work they do.
He also thanked the Friends of Nenagh Hospital “who will always support the efforts to improve the services in hospital”.
Deputy Coonan said: “This funding stems from a recent unannounced site visit to Nenagh Hospital by Hiqa where concern was raised regarding the male medical ward. This is positive news for the management, staff, patients and associated families of Nenagh General Hospital. Any upgrade or creation of facilities at this establishment are welcome and I want to compliment the staff of Nenagh Hospital for their continued dedication to the provision of excellent services.”
The HSE, in a statement to the Tipperary Star, said that following a Hiqa inspection late last year, concerns were raised regarding the male medical ward, a 21-bed multi-occupancy unit that shares two small toilets for bathroom facilities.
“To address the concerns raised a submission was made though the National Capital Approval process to renovate the existing ward and provide 16 single rooms with sanitary facilities and a day room. Approval was received just prior to Christmas. This renovation project will create no additional inpatient capacity, but will see a combination of a new build and renovation of the existing facilities to meet the required standards,”the HSE said.
However, Deputy Lowry disputes this and claims the new facility in a result of his deal with the last Government.
“It was always the intention that these beds would be provided. They are being put in in line with other srvices,” he said.
Deputy Lowry said the beds were the third phase of a development that included a new endoscophy unit and surgical theatres.
“I am not saying the money was part of any deal, but the commitment was there to provide these beds. The funding was a matter for the Department and it has been determined that it will come through Hiqa,” he said.
However, Deputy Kelly told the Star: “Michael Lowry’s claims to have helped deliver the funding for Nenagh Hospital are laughable. How long is he going to continue with the line that everything announced by this Government in Tipperary was actually secured by him. It’s ludicrous and he should stop trying to fool people. This funding is a direct result of the Hiqa inspection a few months ago into Nenagh Hospital. Of course, I helped the hospital, as I always do but, if anyone deserves credit it is Suzanne Dunne and her team who put together this new plan for a 16 bed unit. They deserve our thanks and appreciation.”
The work will be completed in 2015 and will also see a revamp of Medical Ward 1, an upgrade of the three-bed unit in Medical Ward 2 and a new clinical room. No buildings will be demolished as part of this extension, and the project is scalable, so it can be increased in size in the future if necessary.
Deputy Kelly said the project will now go to planning stage with a completion date towards the end of 2015 expected.
“This is on top of the €4.5 new theatres, 14 bed surgical ward and operation pre-assessment rooms and minor procedure room that are to be competed in May of this year and opened soon after,” he said.
A new sterile services department and canteen are also due to open.
Nenagh Hospital was was awarded the best hospital in Ireland in December for patient treatment waiting lists management from the National Special Delivery Unit.