CHI management briefing re Connolly Urgent Care Centre ‘bizarre’ – claims Cllr

by Rose Barrett
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Cllr Tania Doyle (Ind for Ongar) states that Tuesday night’s ‘briefing’ with management of the Children’s Urgent Care Centre at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown was utterly ‘bizarre’.

“On Tuesday 21 February,  further to my request, an online briefing took place. The briefing was set up with approximately 24 hours’ notice despite the new “appointment service” becoming operational at midnight on Tuesday last.”

Cllr Doyle and many political representatives called for an immediate meeting with CHI’s Management Team, the HSE and elected members of Fingal County Council who represent Dublin 15 following the shock announcement that the urgent care centre was no longer to be a walk-in service but families must pre book via a scanning system.

Many commentators were outraged that after only three years, the service was already overloaded, and that families would now have to make the trek over to Temple Street Hospital and the new children’s hospital at James Street when it eventually opens.

Cllr Doyle added: “Sorry to say that the attendance by Elected Members was less than the community deserved with less than 50 per cent of those with a mandate to represent their community taking the time to participate.

“I myself had to break off from the Fingal County Development Plan Debates to log on as I take the matter of children’s health services for our community very seriously.

“We elected members were asked to submit written questions in advance and I submitted ten. Now I have been to many briefings in my time and I have to say that the format of the Q & A was bizarre to put it mildly.

“The CHI Team spoke, we listened but could not ask questions in open session. We could enter in a dialogue alright but only using the “chat” function. After 30 minutes, the “briefing” was closed and the screen went blank, bizarre.

“What I ascertained from said briefing is that the HSE and Dept of Health plus “other stakeholders” who were not confirmed to us, have pre-agreed the decision to change from ‘walk in’ to ‘appointment only’.

“It was a done deal with no forethought to notify the community any consideration whatsoever. It appears to be a resourcing issue which has made this decision.”

She continued: “I shall now take the matter up once again with the management team of CHI and lobby for the services to return to “walk in” and for appropriate future proofing to be instituted accordingly. “

Cllr Doyle stressed she was by no means critical of staff at the facility.

“Without the care and dedication of the staff, this building is only bricks and mortar, with the staff it becomes a living, breathing, caring facility which we are proud of, as we should be. This is not a reflection on the care and service provided by staff at the facility.”

Cllr Doyle invited local concerned residents to contact her at [email protected]

Last week, CHI issued the following statement on their website:

–  All visits are same day appointment service for the Urgent Care Centre from February 22nd 2023

– A walk-in facility is no longer available

– CHI “aim to see the right patient with the right care in the right place at the right time”

“Children’s Health Ireland walk-in Urgent Care Centre providing quick access care for children with minor injuries and minor illnesses has changed to a same day  appointment service. This change aims to support children and families through ensuring the right patients receive the right care in the right place and at the right time.

“Since opening in 2019, CHI at Connolly Children’s Outpatient department (OPD) and Urgent Care Centre has offered children, young people and their families convenient, quality care as close to home as is clinically appropriate, for those living around Dublin 15, North Dublin, Co Kildare and Co Meath.

“CHI at Connolly provided 10,044 OPD patients and 24,127 walk-in’s services in 2022. There are frequently recorded daily numbers of 120-130 walk-in attendees to the Urgent Care Centre. These attendees are seen without an appointment. This has resulted in overcrowding and long waiting times which is unmanageable for both families and staff. It also puts pressure on patient safety.

“A digital swift queue appointment booking process will be available on the CHI at Connolly website for families to access and make an appointment in advance for their child who requires minor injury or minor illness care. CHI at Connolly urgent care service treats children with minor injuries such as fractures, sprains, minor burns, small cuts and illnesses such as vomiting, diarrhoea, and mild asthma. Appointments can be made at short notice depending on availability on the day.”

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