Wednesday 24 January 2018

Minister defends plan to use prefab in hospitals to treat patients

Health Minister Simon Harris Photo: Gerry Mooney
Health Minister Simon Harris Photo: Gerry Mooney
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Hospitals are now being told to buy prefabs to turn into wards to deal with the overcrowding crisis.

The latest desperate bid to tackle the crisis will cause unease among the families of many patients.

The plan envisages patients who may be post-surgery, but not very ill, being accommodated in the prefabs, while those who need more intensive treatment remain in the main hospital.

Already, nursing unions have questioned if the prefabs can even be staffed properly.

Patients in Mayo General, the local hospital of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, are expected to be among the first in prefab structures.

Other hospitals that are already out of the starting blocks to bring in prefabs are South Tipperary General Hospital and University Hospital Galway.

A spokeswoman for the HSE confirmed a national framework to ensure proper standards for these temporary structures had been agreed to ensure patient care and safety.

HSE chiefs and Health Minister Simon Harris continue to come under fire over the hospital crisis.

This week again saw more than 500 patients on trolleys in hospitals nationwide.

Speaking on Saturday Minister Harris defended the plan and said that a long term vision will be worked towards but immediate action needed to be taken.

"It takes time. This is a quicker way to put more capacity into our health service,” he told RTÉ news.

Irish Independent

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