THE new epilepsy unit in Beaumont Hospital is finally to get the staff it needs, Health Minister James Reilly has announced.
New units in Beaumont and Cork University Hospital were built to provide intensive monitoring for patients, but a staff shortage has led to both lying idle.
The units are meant to provide temporary monitoring of people with difficult-to-control seizures or patients who are due to have brain surgery.
The two-bedroom unit in Cork and the four-bedroom unit in Beaumont were built at great expense but the moratorium on recruitment has meant they are without the specialist staff.
It is estimated that around 200 patients nationwide are affected by the staff shortage.
Now, in a progress report, Dr Reilly confirmed that the HSE has secured approval to begin recruiting the staff for one of the units in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.
This includes five staff nurses, one consultant neurophysiologist and three technicians.
It is unclear when all the staff will be in place.
Referring to the Cork unit, Dr Reilly said the HSE confirmed that it was the intention of the Cork University Hospital management to open it in the autumn of this year.
Other developments in improving care include the opening of rapid-access clinics at Beaumont and St James's in Dublin, and others in Galway and Limerick.
These clinics are led by advanced nurse practitioners and 10 of these have been recruited.