I propose to take Questions Nos. 49, 102, 107 and 120 together.
Work is ongoing to address the capacity challenges at South Tipperary General Hospital. While the HSE is exploring what additional supports could be by provided by Our Lady's Hospital, Cashel, it has identified that the most immediate and effective means to alleviate pressure on the emergency department is the fit out of additional space for 11 trolley bays on the first floor of the hospital. Local Deputies may have been briefed on this by hospital management in the last week. This was prioritised for funding which was provided, and completed recently. A recruitment process is under way to provide staff for this new area and it is hoped to have staff in place, recruited in advance of this winter. It is anticipated that this additional capacity will open in September 2017.
Another option under consideration is to provide additional surge capacity through a temporary inpatient solution, in line with the National Framework for Alternative Accommodation at Hospital Sites. I understand that the HSE plans to address this issue in the context of the Estimates 2018 submission.
I should also mention that in recognition of the significant increase in bed utilisation in recent times, a capacity review of the South Tipperary General Hospital by the South-South West Hospital Group is nearing completion. This review will inform the precise level and nature of any additional capacity required to meet current and future needs. The Department's national capacity review will also help identify service requirements and inform resourcing priorities.
I note that a brief for the procurement of a master plan to provide for the orderly development of the South Tipperary General Hospital campus is currently being finalised.
This review will inform the precise level and nature of any additional capacity required to meet the needs of the people of Tipperary. The Department's national capacity review will also help to identify service requirements.
Finally, I wish to inform the Deputy that a brief for the procurement of a master plan for South Tipperary General Hospital to provide for the development of the hospital campus is being finalised. This will enable us to consider further developments in respect of the capital plan. I think it is fair to say this hospital over many years was overlooked for significant capital investment. The completion of this master plan, which has proceeded to procurement, along with the 11 bays, will enable us to try to include measures in the forthcoming Government's capital plan.