With a warning in place of a possible flu epidemic over the coming months and a recognised shortage of beds at South Tipperary General Hospital, Councillor Tom Wood has called on the HSE to utilise the available bed capacity at both Our Lady's and Saint Patricks Hospitals in Cashel should demand arise.
Cllr Wood raised the issue at the November meeting of the Regional Health Forum saying, “emergency situations require emergency measures and with the elderly prone to suffer most from such an event I hope there is a plan in place.”
In reply, Ms Maria Barry, General Manager, South Tipperary General Hospital said,
“Whilst there is an acknowledged bed capacity issue in South Tipperary General, the hospital has opened a facility, Surgical 2, with an additional eleven trolley spaces.
This is a ward that affords patients dignity and all the care services are provided for within a ward environment.
South Tipperary General Hospital will continue to work with Community Healthcare Organisations in relation to the full utilisation of any beds provided by the community nursing units.
Saint Patrick's Hospital in Cashel provides long stay and rehabilitation beds and takes referrals from South Tipperary General Hospital.
A winter plan to support discharges from South Tipperary General Hospital has been developed.
As part of the Winter Plan, funding to support an additional three home care packages per week has been approved.
The beds in Saint Patricks Hospital, Cashel are used to facilitate and support discharges from South Tipperary General.
This includes Saint Clare's Ward on the Cashel Health Campus (an eleven-bed ward) which is fully occupied and which supports discharges from South Tipperary General Hospital.”
In response, Councillor Wood expressed disappointment that there was no mention of utilising Our Ladys should demand arise, adding,
“I suppose it's not surprising as the recently extensively renovated hospital sadly doesn't have a bed,” said Cllr Wood.