Sunday 20 October 2019

Wexford Hospital becomes part of new 'Dublin East' grouping

Liam Twomey
Liam Twomey

David Tucker

WEXFORD General Hospital is now part of the newly-created Dublin East group of hospitals, after years of uncertainty its inclusion underpinning the retention of its full range of emergency and key services.

WEXFORD General Hospital is now part of the newly-created Dublin East group of hospitals, after years of uncertainty its inclusion underpinning the retention of its full range of emergency and key services.

'It's good news for County Wexford,' said Fine Gael Deputy Liam Twomey.

'It clearly states the future for Wexford in terms of A and E, gynaecology and paediatrics,' he said.

Others in the Dublin East group include the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital; St Vincent's University Hospital; Midland Regional Hospital at Mullingar,;St Luke's General Hospital, Kilkenny; the National Maternity Hospital, Our Lady's Hospital, Navan; St Columcille's Hospital, Loughlinstown; St Michael's Hospital, Dun Laoghaire; Cappagh National Orthopaedic Hospita,l and the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital.

'It changes the re-alignment of health services from east to west to north to south,' said Dr. Twomey of the major re-organisation of the health service detailed in the Higgins Report, which was approved by the Cabinet last week.

Wexford's Hospital General Manager Lily Byrnes said described the reorganisation as 'quite a change for the health service, and quite a change for us as well'.

'We think it will be a positive for the hospital with very clear plans and guarantees for links with our care groups,' she said.

'It's important that as a junior doctor you have time on a very large site and also at a site like ours,' she said of the new grouping, under which staff will be recruited to groups rather than to specific hospitals.

Dr. Twomey said he didn't see this leading to any major changes in the way the hospitals work, for example between Wexford and Waterford, in the short to medium term, but it would formalise the strong pathway that already existts between Wexford and St. Vincent's Hospitals.

Dr. Twomey said what the grouping doesn't spell out is improving access for things like hip replacements, prostate cancer treatment and tonsilectomies.

'People are waiting for up to four years for hip replacements, and that needs to change,' he said.

'We just need to reduce the amount of time these people are waiting and that issue needs to be tackled.'

One of the major attractions of the new grouping would be the strong connections between teaching and frontline hospitals.

This will mean that Wexford should be able to have access to a wider pool of doctors and consultants.

'It's getting very difficult to recruit higher qualified doctors now and young doctors don't want to work where there is no connection to a teaching hospital,' said Dr. Twomey.

The report says there is an absence of a consensus/shared vision amongst all the hospitals in the current southeast hospital network - St. Luke's Hospital Kilkenny and Wexford General. The patterns of hospital usage for the catchment population of St Luke's Hospital Kilkenny and Wexford General Hospital indicate a strong utilisation of services in Dublin; for instance 10 per cent of the acute hospital discharges for the population of County Wexford are from St Vincent's University Hospital.

It says Wexford General Hospital, because of its geographic location, similar to Kerry and Letterkenny General Hospitals, should retain its full range of Emergency Department (ED), medical, surgical, maternity and paediatric services.

And in future, staff will be recruited to the hospital groups rather than to an individual hospital.

This ensures that all hospitals will have access to world class medical staff. The increased flexibility of staff will enable a reduction in the hours that junior doctors work. This will improve patient safety.

Patients will not be restricted in their choice of hospital group. GPs remain free to refer patients to the hospital of their choice outside of their local area.

The hospital group will be reviewed before they become permanent hospital trusts.

The government says the revision of hospital group composition may be considered at this stage.

A new A and E department and new gyneacological unit are due to open at Wexford General Hospital by the end of 2014.

Wexford People

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