Brain-injury patients face six-month wait for vital rehabilitation
Patients who have suffered a complex brain injury are waiting up to six months for admission to the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire, it can be revealed.
The hospital currently has a waiting list of 242 patients who need specialised therapy after suffering a disability as a result of accidents, stroke or surgery to remove a limb.
Children are forced to wait nearly three months to begin rehabilitation.
The extent of the waiting list emerged yesterday as Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Health Minister Simon Harris turned the sod on the long-delayed construction of phase one of a redevelopment.
The development, which suffered a setback during recession cuts, only involves a €68m first phase at this stage.
It will offer single en-suite rooms to all patients when it is ready in 2020.
Currently the hospital has 'nightingale' or multi-bedded wards.
It will replace the existing 112 beds with 120 beds, but even at this it will still fall short of what is needed.
The hospital's board yesterday stressed the need to now start the process of securing the planning and finance for phases two and three.
This would see the number of beds eventually rise to 235.
"It is vital the development of phase two of the new hospital is advanced as quickly as possible, as currently phase one only facilitates some hospital services moving to the new environment," it said in a statement.
"Services such as physio, catering and other services will remain in the old building and there are increased costs and inefficiencies managing and running the hospital on the two sites.
"These are estimated at some €1m to €2m a year."
Speaking at the ceremony, the Taoiseach said: "The new hospital development will see the existing ward accommodation replaced by a new, fit-for-purpose block of 120 single en-suite rooms.
"There will be integrated therapy spaces, a new sports hall, hydrotherapy unit, a temporary concourse as well as clinical and ancillary spaces.
"In addition, links to the existing building will ensure full integration between the new development and the existing hospital on the site.
"It will provide a patient-centred approach to help deliver the best possible outcomes for those who attend either as in-patients or out-patients.
"It will also provide the staff of the hospital with an excellent facility within which to continue their work - work which is so critical to the lives of people with neurological conditions and their families and carers."
Mr Harris said: "This new development will enable staff to deliver optimal quality care and treatment in a facility which affords...respect and privacy."