JUNIOR Minister Jim Daly says he plans to reopen beds at Clonakilty Community Hospital to help overcrowding at city hospitals.
And he says he plans to use Clonakilty as a testing ground for the plan, which has the backing of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, adding: ‘And if it works for us here in Cork, it can work anywhere else in the country.’
Deputy Daly said this week that the hospital in Clonakilty ‘is greatly underused’ and could play a leading role in solving the current overcrowding issues at Cork City hospitals.
The recently appointed Minister of State at the Department of Health Jim Daly has met with management at the hospital to discuss his plans for an expansion to the range of services provided at the facility.
Speaking to The Southern Star this week, Minister Jim Daly acknowledged that his plan was somewhat ‘ambitious’ but added that he is determined to use his time as a junior minister at the Department of Health to ensure that the HSE reopens beds in Clonakilty.
He said he also wants to utilise the talents of staff by introducing new procedures at the hospital, such as IV antibiotic treatments, ‘thus enabling a higher level of medical care at the hospital’.
Clonakilty Hospital has currently 114 beds with over 100 of those beds providing long term care for elderly, he said.
‘I want to see more beds opened at the hospital, providing step-down care on a short-term basis for patients from the busy acute hospitals in Cork city,’ said Minister Daly this week.
The Clonakilty-based Fine Gael Minister said he has requested that Clonakilty Hospital be resourced to play its part in this year’s winter initiative to deal with overcrowding.
Deputy Daly has also confirmed that he has the support of his senior colleague Minister Simon Harris and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in his efforts to promote the hospital as a provider of step-down care for patients currently in acute hospitals who do not need to be there.
‘I intend to drive this initiative at national level by putting the issue of Clonakilty Hospital on the agenda for the monthly meetings between the Ministers at the Department of Health and the heads of the HSE and Department of Health and if it works for us here in Cork, it can work anywhere else in the country,’ he said.
He also said that ‘this week alone’ there are up to 30 beds in CUH providing step-down care that could be provided in a hospital such as Clonakilty, thereby freeing up 30 more beds in CUH every week.
He thanked the matron Carol McCann for her very constructive engagement with, and enthusiasm for, the ambitious project, to date.