Taoiseach: I’ll do my best to improve health service

Taoiseach: I’ll do my best to improve health service
Nurse Ciara O'Flynn pictured with the Taoiseach Leo Vardkar in the Puffin Children's Ward at the Cork University Hospital on Christmas Day. Pic: Ciara O'Flynn

CORK University Hospital staff and patients had a visit from the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Christmas Day where he vowed to do his best to improve the health service.

The Taoiseach popped into the Children’s ward and also to the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department.

Following his visit, Mr Varadkar tweeted a nurse from CUH’s Children’s Unit, who posted a picture of his visit, to say that he would be doing his best to make improvements in the health service in 2019.

Another member of staff also tweeted pictures of the Taoiseach visiting and thanked Mr Varadkar for stopping by to acknowledge the sacrifices of the frontline staff over the Christmas holidays.

CUH was identified as a key site of concern for this winter and was recently allocated €800,000 by the HSE to implement a number of measures to ease the trolley crisis over the winter period. The hospital saw the number of people awaiting beds in its halls rise by almost 300 in just one month between October and November 2018. More than 900 patients were on trolleys or chairs in CUH in November.

Clinical Director of Medicine at CUH, Dr Mike O’Connor revealed the hospital will implement a detailed plan to alleviate pressure on the Emergency Department and improve patient flow throughout the hospital.

He said the hospital will put additional medical staff in place, open an additional 10 beds on site and seek to gain 10 beds in private nursing homes along with a further 15 in private hospitals.

CUH will also open additional medical assessment units and operate its acute medical assessment unit on a 24/7 basis.

The national plan seeks primarily to support older people and their transition from the acute setting and to support acute and community operations.

The HSE plan, which continues until January 13, includes 75 additional Acute Beds, 66 additional Community Beds and four additional Rehabilitation Beds.

Cork University Hospital is one of nine hospital sites, along with associated community healthcare organisations, targeted for extra resources this winter and this is the first time the hospital has received a defined chunk of money to put in place special measures for the January period.

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