Local Independent Deputy, Denis Naughten, has received confirmation that additional bed capacity is to be provided at Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, after he raised the issue directly with the Minister for Health.
“I raised the issue of the very serious overcrowding at Portiuncula Hospital both with Minister Donnelly and with his predecessor Minister Harris,” Deputy Naughten said.
It has now been confirmed to the Independent Deputy by the HSE that additional bed capacity is to be provided on the Portiuncula Hospital site. This will include the provisional of a temporary modular out-patient department and the conversion of the existing OPD into 14 single en-suite rooms.
“Funding has already been secured for the temporary OPD and it is expected that the project will be completed by the end of December 2020, becoming operational towards the end of January 2021.
“I understand that a design team has now been appointed for the conversion of the existing OPD and it is particularly significant that the conversion will include single en-suite rooms which will assist the hospital with isolation rooms and infection control.
“As early as the start of June the hospital was seeing on average eight patients on trollies at Portiuncula Hospital every day. This was as a direct result of changes to the bed reconfiguration in the hospital as a result of Covid-19, which saw the hospital lose 10 percent of its inpatient capacity.
“I raised my concerns regarding facing into the winter with a reduced bed capacity and supported the hospital’s proposals for measures which could help to replace this loss in capacity.
“The new single rooms planned for the converted OPD will help to restore the hospital’s original bed capacity and will alleviate pressure on our A&E department. However, while this is a positive step it is disappointing that even though I highlighted the issue of bed capacity last June it is only being acted upon now. This means that the additional beds will not be in place for this winter with the additional capacity unlikely to be in operation until next spring,” Deputy Naughten asserted.