Cllr Anne Campbell: Minor Injuries Unit in Louth Finally opens to Minors

Cllrs Anne Campbell & Pearse McGeough

Sinn Féin Councillor Anne Campbell has welcomed the long awaited opening of the Minor Injuries Unit in the Louth Hospital to children from 5 years upwards.

Speaking today Cllr Campbell said “after all that waiting and postponement of promises on a number of occasions, the Minor Injuries Unit will finally accept minors for treatment. It is a far cry from full services being restored to our hospital but it is a good start.”

Councillor Campbell, along with the Watters Brothers Cumann have been holding a monthly awareness protest at the hospital gates on the last Friday of every month calling for this and other services to be expended and optimised.

“I have been working on this and keeping the pressure on since the minister announced it two years ago. I, supported by Cllr Pearse McGeough and our TD Gerry Adams refused to let the promise fall by the wayside and ensured it was kept to the forefront of our hospital campaign.”

The Minor Injuries Unit will accept children from 5 years upwards from Monday 24th September 2018.

They will treat:

  • Suspected broken bones to legs from knee to toes
  • Broken arms from collar bone to finger tips
  • All sprains and strains
  • Minor facial injuries (including oral, dental and nasal injuries
  • Minor scalds and burns
  • Wounds, bites, cuts, grazes and scalp lacerations
  • Splinters and fish hooks
  • Foreign bodies in eyes, ears, nose
  • Minor head injuries (fully conscious children, who did not experience loss of consciousness or vomit after the head injury)

Councillor Campbell also pointed out that “this will alleviate the pressure on Our Lady of Lourdes hospital in Drogheda as well as the pressure on families with children who up until now, had to drive past a Minor Injuries Unit to get to an overstretched unit in Drogheda. This is good news for Dundalk.”

Adams: New Primary Care Centre not to Open until 2020

Gerry Adams at a recent Louth Hospital protest

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams has expressed his frustration that the long awaited Dundalk primary care centre is not expected to open until early 2020.

Following a response received to a parliamentary question Teachta Adams stated;

“There is a longstanding government promise of a primary care centre with mental health services for Dundalk.  I have been campaigning for provision of these services for some time now.

“In Dundalk community based psychiatric services are practically non-existent, and delivered from Ladywell. They cannot provide Child and Adolescent Mental Health services, or Old Age Psychiatry services in this building.

“A new primary care centre is the solution to this.

“I have asked both the Taoiseach and the Minister of State for Mental Health to visit this 60 year old damp building to see how badly facilities are needed. They have not done this. They won’t do this.

“The HSE have told me that the developer intends to submit a planning application towards the end of 2018, and they expect services to open in 2020. This means people must continue to travel, to Ardee or Drogheda to access basic mental health services.

“It is not acceptable for people to just wait until 2020. The Minister must ensure an interim solution is put in place. I will continue to raise this issue with the government until people have access to necessary services.

Cllr Anne Campbell Calls for Optimisation of Surgical Beds

Sinn Féin held the second of their monthly hospital protests on Friday, this time highlighting the need for more surgical beds in Louth County Hospital.

Councillor Anne Campbell who led the protest said “we plan to be here each month until Louth Hospital starts to serve the people of Dundalk to its full potential.”

The protest which was attended by Gerry Adams TD, Cllrs Pearse McGeough and Ruairí Ó Murchú was highlighting the need for surgical beds. “At present, there are eight surgical beds in a day ward that are only doing very routine procedures. These beds are not always in use and are only available from 9am until about 4pm. Sinn Féin is calling for the use of these beds to be optimised and used 24hrs per day even if it’s only Monday to Friday. This would involve the presence of a clinician. At the minute, if there are any complications with a minor day procedure, the patient is ferried by ambulance to Drogheda where they will obviously be left on a trolley until they are seen, adding to the already overburdened workload at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.”

Cllr Campbell said “there are a number of very simple things that could happen at the Louth Hospital to ease the pressure on Drogheda and also ease the burden on patients in the Dundalk area and this is only one of them. We need to tackle the spiralling waiting lists in Louth and opening up these beds would certainly be a good start.”

In the meantime, Cllr Campbell who has been keeping the Minor Injuries Unit age reduction issue very firmly in the public eye has said she is waiting ‘impatiently for September’. Cllr Campbell is determined to hold the Minister to his promise of an age reduction of those being treated for minor injuries to 5 years from 14 years. Despite promises made by the Minister almost 2 years ago, it hasn’t happened yet and the date for implementation has been postponed a number of times. The latest date given to Cllr Campbell is September. “It would be so much easier for families with younger children if they could visit their local hospital with minor injuries instead of having to go to Drogheda Hospital and again, it would ease the burden on Drogheda. This is a very simple thing to do and I’m not letting the Minister of the hook here. I am waiting impatiently for September.”

The Dundalk South Councillor also promised to be at the hospital gates again next month and has invited people to join her on Friday 31st August at 3:30pm – 4:30pm

Gerry Adams TD: Cladding concerns at Our Lady of Lourdes

Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams has written to the Minister for Health Simon Harris following media reports that specialist cladding inspectors have been brought in to investigate Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda and four other hospitals following the Grenfell fire in London.

Teachta Adams said:

“People were horrified by the disastrous fire in June 2017 in London which killed 71 people. The fire was linked to cladding used on the outside of the block of flats.

“The news that the HSE has confirmed that Our Lady of Lourdes is one of five hospitals in the “highest risk” category is a matter of great public concern.

“I welcome the fact that the HSE has now decided to initiate this investigation, following an evaluation process, but I am concerned that this is only taking place now over a year after the Grenfell fire occurred.

“I have written to the Minister asking for detail about the on-site inspections that have taken place; what remedial action, if any, has been taken in respect of hospitals in Louth; and when he expects to complete the investigation into Our Lady of Lourdes and the four other hospitals.”

National Maternity Hospital must be in State hands – Adams

Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has urged the Minister for Health to “urgently implement the commitments made in the Dáil on Wednesday night following the successful adoption of a Sinn Fein motion in respect of the National Maternity Hospital and Maternity Services”.

Teachta Adams welcomed the decision of the other parties last night to support the Sinn Féin motion which “set out a detail of proposals for improvements to our maternity services including universal access to foetal anomaly screening, the full implementation of the National Maternity Strategy and a commitment to work with nursing and medical unions in the recruitment and retention of medical staff so that all maternity hospitals meet the Birth rate plus standard for midwifery staffing, as well as international standards for consultant obstetricians and gynaecologists”.

Gerry Adams said:

“The ongoing controversy over the ownership and governance of the National Maternity Hospital has put a focus on the provision of maternity care and services.

The decision by the Government to give ownership of the new national maternity hospital to the Sisters of Charity has justifiably manifested itself in massive public concern and anger particularly, though not exclusively, among women.

It is unacceptable that any religious ethos should determine clinical decisions. The hospital should be held in public ownership and have legally guaranteed independence from all non-medical influence in its clinical operations within the laws of the State.

This is a hospital which must carry out treatments such as in vitro fertilisation, IVF, sterilisation, gender reassignment surgery and, in some cases, termination. The notion that the Sisters of Charity must be given ownership of the hospital simply because they own the land is absolute nonsense. There are, as others have said, other options available to the Government and this motion, which will now be passed, will compel the Government to explore these options.

The priority must be to get the hospital built as soon as possible on terms acceptable to citizens, particularly women. We cannot continue with a situation where women and babies are treated in antiquated buildings that are not fit for purpose. Equally, we cannot continue with the situation where our maternity hospitals are operating at dangerously low staffing levels, where women are treated on corridors and where overcrowding and a lack of resources result in tragedy and upset. That is why a key component of this motion is to ensure that the national maternity strategy is implemented and properly funded.

The Minister for Health now needs to act with the utmost urgency to sort out the mess that surrounds the national maternity hospital. I acknowledge his remarks in the Dáil in the course of the debate and now look to him to deliver on his commitments.”

 

The text of Sinn Féin Dáil Motion:

notes:

— that since 2011, maternity services in Ireland have been marked with investigations and, in some cases, alleged cover ups of maternal and child mortality or injury in Portiuncula as well as University Hospital Galway, Portlaoise, Cavan, and Drogheda;

— that Ireland has the lowest number of consultant obstetricians per 100,000 women in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and a consultant obstetrician in Ireland is responsible for 597 births per annum, compared to 268 in Scotland;

— that the three Dublin maternity hospitals are operating at a 17 per cent deficit in the number of midwifery staff needed to run the services;

— that most of the 19 maternity units do not offer foetal anomaly screening, as prenatal ultrasound assessments by qualified sonographers and foetal medicine specialists are not available outside larger units;

— that, despite the enactment of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, there is a dearth of perinatal psychiatrists and other specialists;

— the serious inequalities and absence of resources which exist within the Health Service Executive (HSE) to provide services to children with life-limiting and complex medical needs, and to those under palliative care; and

— that such shortcomings have directly led to tragic incidents involving mothers and children;

acknowledges and supports the findings of:

— the National Maternity Strategy, Palliative Care for Children with Life-limiting Conditions in Ireland – A National Policy by the Department of Health, the HSE National Standards for Bereavement Care following Pregnancy Loss and Perinatal Death, and the Report on End of Life and Palliative Care in Ireland by the Joint Committee on Health and Children in 2014; and

— the National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services Report by the Health Information and Quality Authority submitted to the Minister for Health;

further acknowledges:

— that the Programme for a Partnership Government states it will implement the National Maternity Strategy and ‘invest in end of life care, including the provision of hospice and “end of life care” during the perinatal period, infancy, childhood and adulthood’;

— the need for continuity of care for women and parents during pregnancy, at the point of delivery and after birth, inclusive of where children have life-limiting conditions;

— the need to support bereaved parents in their transition out of hospital, with appropriate services and the availability of frontline bereavement counselling;

— that the above is best delivered by medical teams basing their decisions on best medical practice and not in any way beholden to any religious ethos; and

— the plans to move the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street to new, modern facilities at St. Vincent’s Hospital campus; and

calls on the Government to:

— honour commitments in the Programme for a Partnership Government in respect of funding and implementing the National Maternity Strategy;

— ensure that the new National Maternity Hospital is built on the St. Vincent’s Hospital campus as quickly as possible, remains entirely within public ownership and has legally guaranteed independence from all non-medical influence in its clinical operations within the laws of the State;

— ensure swift approval, dissemination and implementation of the National Maternity Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services;

— ensure all maternity hospitals have access to foetal anomaly screening, with the requisite staff and equipment;

— work with nursing and medical unions in the recruitment and retention of medical staff, so that all maternity hospitals meet the Birthrate Plus standard for midwifery staffing, as well as international standards for consultant obstetricians and gynaecologists;

— establish an independent patient advocacy service; and

— implement the recommendations of the Report on End of Life and Palliative Care in Ireland by the Joint Committee on Health and Children in 2014, prioritising those parts relating to care for children with life-limiting conditions.”