Tallaght Hospital CEO prepares to push for new 72-bed unit

By Mary Dennehy

THE community will support Tallaght Hospital’s proposal for the development of a new 72-bed, five-storey unit on campus, local health campaigners have this week told The Echo.

Last December, Tallaght Hospital CEO David Slevin spoke to The Echo about plans to increase the bed capacity at the local health facility to include a new 72-bed, single room, adult in-patient building on a green field site on the grounds of the local hospital.

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The 72 beds, 24 of which will be transferring from the ambulatory unit, will all be isolation units – a feature which will support the hospital when dealing with outbreaks such as the winter vomiting bug or CRE.

The 72-beds will be laid out across three floors, with the remaining two floors left vacant for future fit-out – allowing the hospital room to grow with the continuous increase in patients.

One area where the hospital predicts massive growth is in patients over the age of 75 years, with a 465 per cent increase in this age group expected within the next 15 years.

Speaking with The Echo in December, CEO David Slevin said: “We are trying to future-proof the hospital . . . and I think that we have a very strong case for additional bed investment.

“There hasn’t been an investment in beds in Tallaght Hospital since it opened, which wouldn’t be the norm . . . and our priority for 2017 is additional beds.”

Mr Slevin, who confirmed this week that an architect is currently undertaking a feasibility study into the proposed unit, has also encouraged members of the community and all stakeholders to advocate for these beds – and to help put forward the argument that “these beds are needed in our local hospital more than any other hospital”.

This week, Richie O’Reilly, PRO of the Tallaght Hospital Action Group (THAG), said that the community will support the hospital in its bid for beds.

Mr O’Reilly told The Echo: “The CEO has been in communication with us and we think that the proposed new 72-bed facility is a great idea – and the community will get behind the hospital and support this.

“The hospital is taking its own initiative to address the current problems concerning bed capacity, while also preparing for the future – and the increase in older patients that Tallaght as an aging community will have.

“We need more beds and this is a solution . . . and the HSE needs to come on board and support and fund the hospital for this project.”

A motion was also passed in the chambers of South Dublin County Council recently, which garnered support for the proposed development at Tallaght Hospital.

Tallaght councillor Charlie O’Connor, who tabled the motion, said: “Myself and Cllr Paul Foley raised it at the full council meeting in response to David Slevin’s appeal to the community for assistance and support.

“The hospital faces current challenges and future challenges in relation to increases in the number of elderly patients.

“This development takes account of this emerging elderly population and we will be raising it with the regional health forum and the Health Minister and senior HSE management.”

The Echo contacted the Department of Health and the HSE for a comment on the proposed development – and asked them if funding would be considered.

However, neither provided a comment.

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