BY EMMA CONNOLLY
SOME 14 short stay beds are to be reopened in Clonakilty Community Hospital in a move to return the ‘hospital’ function to the complex.
Funding has been confirmed by the HSE for what they call ‘transitional care beds’ which will allow spaces to be freed up for those with more serious needs in Cork University Hospital.
Starting from next month, the initiative forms part of an overall plan to improve patient flows into, through and out of acute hospitals and to alleviate waiting times on trolleys in Emergency Departments.
Announcing the initiative to The Southern Star, Minister of State at the Department of Health,
Jim Daly, said that, on Wednesday alone, he was aware of 40 patients in CUH who strictly speaking did not need to be there and who could be cared for in Clonakilty.
‘I am very anxious to see this initiative replicated in other areas to ensure the return of the hospital function to our district hospitals which have over successive years become Nursing Homes.’
And he now hopes the initiative in Clonakilty ¬– designed to help patients in the period between medical discharge from the acute hospital setting and transition to home ¬¬– will be replicated elsewhere.
The beds had been closed back in 2010 amid public outcry due to a combination of factors including lack of resources.
Meanwhile in further good news, the Cork South West TD announced that a newly-appointed surgical consultant is to start work shortly at Bantry General Hospital, where surgery will be carried out five days a week as opposed to the current two a half days.
There had been widespread concern following the retirement of surgeon Mr Abu Ghali earlier this month with many fearing it marked the beginning of a downgrading of facilities.
However, Minister Daly confirmed that, following interviews last Monday, a surgeon will take up the position shortly with a locum maintaining services until then.
He said: ‘I am very ambitious for its future. Currently its state of the art operating theatre is only in use two a half days a week ¬– I will use all of my energy to ensure this is doubled in the coming months as we expand the range of surgeries available to people.’
The newly-appointed surgeon will initially work exclusively, five days a week, in Bantry Hospital and, going forward, will also be part of the surgical team in CUH. A number of other surgeons will take his place in Bantry on such occasions.
Minister Daly said he also intended to progress an investment of €4 million to enhance the endoscopy services and improve the physical environment to complement the first class rehab care provided to stroke patients.