The decision not to press ahead with the provision of a second X-ray room at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda has been described as ‘myopic and incompetent’ by Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster.
Speaking in the Dáil on Wednesday, she lashed out at the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health Simon Harris for allowing the X-ray room, initially included in the plans for the new Emergency Department building which opened in 2011, to fall by the wayside.
“The provision of a second X-ray room, deemed essential by medical personnel for the efficient running of the new extension to the Emergency Department, had been costed and included in the tender before being suddenly withdrawn at the last minute. T
“These plans have been in place for ten years and included the X-ray room,” Munster said.
The Deputy said that the lack of a second X-ray room undermined the very purpose of building an extended Emergency Department which would lead to greater delays for patients presenting and more stress for staff.
“Obviously the extended Emergency Department will mean increases in patients presenting for treatment. Given that 80% of all patients who present to the Emergency Department need X-rays, CT scans, MRIs or ultrasounds – how are staff supposed to cope with only one X-Ray room?”
“This is compounded by the fact that the existing and only X-ray room is operating at full capacity and beyond, and the equipment – which is ten years old – is already obsolete.”
“Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, notwithstanding that it had the highest number of radiological examinations in 2017, is the only major hospital in the country where the Emergency Department has to rely on the one X-Ray room. Staff have been crying out for additional resources for years,” she continued.
“This is an unbelievably myopic and incompetent decision by the HSE. It’s like building a new house without a roof. Patients are going to suffer with longer waiting times and it will put paid to the best practice targets for those requiring hip replacements and other surgeries. This is another example of senior HSE management ignoring medical professionals working on the front line and putting patient care and best practice in second place.”
“The Minister has a duty to intervene and resolve this matter. This decision must be reversed. It’s a retrograde step, bordering on ludicrous. If the extension is to cope with higher turnover, how is it supposed to do this without an additional X-ray room?”
The Drogheda based TD confirmed she had written to the Minister Harris requesting an immediate reversal of the decision.