The purpose of my recent visit to Tallaght Hospital was to review the situation there and the progress they have made in patient care. There has been progress in a range of areas, for example the new Medical Admissions Unit is functioning extremely well, and there are plans to extend its hours. In addition, there have been reductions in average length of stay for patients and targets in relation to the number of people waiting nine months or longer have been met. I visited a number of areas in the hospital, including the Telemedicine Unit, a fantastic facility that enables doctors in Tallaght to advise doctors in more remote locations like Naas, Mullingar or Portlaoise on stroke patient care, examine CT Scans and interact with the patient. This development will improve the range of services available to patients in the smaller hospitals. I look forward to continuing to support Tallaght hospital in improving outcomes for patients.
In relation to the Deputy's question regarding the implementation of the recommendations of HIQA, the responsibility for implementing the recommendations rests with the Chief Executive Officer of the hospital and the Director General Designate of the HSE with oversight from my Department. In line with established HSE policy on the receipt and implementation of major reports, the HSE established an Implementation Oversight Group with appropriate chairmanship and membership to progress the Report’s recommendations relating to Tallaght hospital and nationally. In recognition of the importance attached to the reports recommendations, the HSE National Operational Plan for 2013 includes a specific commitment to the Reports continued implementation. This is being reinforced through the supporting Regional Service Plans and Service Arrangements with voluntary providers.