Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Questions (59)

Seán Fleming


59. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Health the status of the consultation process on the future of the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5405/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Health)

I am committed to securing and further developing the role of the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise as a constituent hospital within the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group. Since 2014, the focus has been on supporting the hospital to develop and enhance management capability, implementing changes required to address clinical service deficiencies, and incorporating the hospital into the governance structures within the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group.

Significant work has been undertaken to strengthen and stabilise current arrangements for services at the hospital to ensure that services that are not sustainable are discontinued and those that are, are safety assured and adequately resourced. Funding has increased by 35% relative to the 2012 budget and staffing levels have risen by 32% from the 2014 base. Governance and management arrangements in Portlaoise Hospital have been strengthened, additional clinical staff have been appointed and staff training, hospital culture and communications have improved.

As I have outlined previously, no decision has been made yet on the draft Action Plan for Portlaoise Hospital. I committed to ensuring that local clinicians and the community would be consulted with before a decision is made. I have decided that a comprehensive consultation exercise should be undertaken by the HSE, with an external facilitator, with the key stakeholder groups involved in the Portlaoise Hospital. The consultation will involve key stakeholders and local community representatives and provide an opportunity to listen to and address the issues and concerns the stakeholders have highlighted. The consultation will also provide an opportunity to set out clearly the immediate priorities for service development and improvement in the hospital.

I intend to appoint an independent external facilitator for the consultation process in the coming weeks. The outcome of the consultation process will be a submission from my Department, setting out the key findings from the consultation process and recommended response to inform me in making a final decision on the draft Action Plan.