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.”
Louth TD Gerry Adams has welcomed the “fresh efforts to resolve the dispute at Our Lady of Lourdes hospital over concerns around staff shortages at the Drogheda hospital.”
Gerry Adams TD said: “I want to extend solidarity to the staff in Our Lady of Lourdes hospital. The nurses and midwives do a remarkable job in difficult conditions.
Today SIPTU Nursing representatives will re-engage with the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in an effort to resolve the long-running dispute concerning nursing staff shortages in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. In May it emerged that there were 104 vacant whole-time equivalent posts in that hospital.
Some progress has already been made in discussions with management but SIPTU and those they represent still have concerns about staff levels.
There is a particular need to reach agreement on an emergency plan to deal with staff shortages which takes account of the clinical and safety risks.”
Concluding Teachta Adams said:
“The difficulties in Our Lady of Lourdes are replicated in hospitals across the state. Currently the health system is short 3,600 nurses and midwives that are needed to maintain the sector.
This chaos will not be resolved by Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil’s ill-considered two-tier approach to health. Or by the recruitment pause-embargo.”
Councillor Tomás Sharkey is calling for post-mortem examinations to be carried out in local hospitals at the weekends.
Cllr Sharkey said, “When the laboratory service in Louth County hospital closed the post-mortem work was also moved to Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. As a rule post-mortems are not carried out in that hospital over the weekend unless the state pathologist requests it.
“In recent times I am aware that a number of tragic deaths took place on a Friday night / early Saturday. This meant that post-mortems were not carried out until the following Monday morning and the families involved were delayed in receiving the remains home for a wake and funeral.
“This arrangement can cause stress and additional grief for families. It is not fair and should be addressed by HSE management. I have called for a review of the arrangements and expect that the merits of the request be taken on board”.