Gilmore stresses hospital changes

Fri, May 18, 2012, 01:00

THE PRACTICE of having patients on trolleys in a corridor near the emergency department in Tallaght hospital had ended, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore told the Dáil.

He said the hospital board had been replaced, a new chair and chief executive had been appointed and there was a new regime at the hospital. “Very big changes have been made in Tallaght hospital itself.”

The Tánaiste was speaking before the publication of a Health Information and Quality Authority report on safety at the hospital.

Fianna Fáil TD Charlie McConalogue said comments made by the Dublin county coroner last year, following his examination of the circumstances surrounding the death of Thomas Walsh (65), had appalled everyone. Mr Walsh, he said, died after being placed on a trolley in a hospital corridor as a result of overcrowding.

“Shockingly, the coroner asked whether it would be safer for patients to stay at home rather than attend the accident and emergency unit in Tallaght hospital,” Mr McConalogue said.

Mr Gilmore expressed sympathy with Mr Walsh’s family. He said patients in all acute hospitals needed an assurance that the matter was being addressed in an effective manner.

Lessons had been learned and quality assurance systems were being implemented across the hospital system.

Mr McConalogue said it was not a wonder that the accident and emergency wards were under pressure when up to 66,000 people left the private insurance system last year and up to 2,000 hospital beds remained closed.

Mr Gilmore said the Government, the Minister for Health James Reilly and the special delivery unit had reduced the number of patients on trolleys.