Connolly Urgent Care Centre now appointment only

by Rose Barrett
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Deputy Paul Donnelly, SF TD for Dublin West has echoed the shock in the Dublin West community as it was announced last Friday that Connolly Hospital children’s urgent care centre is moving from an emergency department to an appointment only system. 

An exasperated Deputy Donnelly said “I simply cannot understand why this decision has been made by  hospital management;  the centre was trumpeted as a major step forward for children’s health when it opened. 

“It was a huge relief for parents in the catchment area of over 300, 000 people that they would not have to travel to Temple St or the new Children’s Hospital for minor emergencies. But now we are being told that if your child is injured, or sick,  that you must click on a QR code or email the hospital for an appointment? 

“That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever!” 

The deputy stated he had been inundated with calls from worried parents who are deeply concerned with regards to this policy change at the hospital. 

“They are deeply worried that they will not be able to get an appointment quickly if their child has an accident. “ Deputy Donnelly further noted that with the number of GP practices which have closed their lists, and the fact that the D Doc is often overwhelmed, this was not the time to close another emergency service to families and young children in West Dublin.

Now parents must travel into Temple Street or the new hospital at St James’s when it finally opens.

Dublin councillors Tania Doyle (Ind for Ongar) and Mary McCamley (Lab for Mulhuddart) also vented their anger at the change of protocol at the Blanchardstown facility.

Cllr Doyle stated “It is now forcing potentially unqualified parents to make a clinical decision “is my child’s injury or illness minor or major”? Cllr Doyle felt the unilateral decision had been made with no forethought of the impact on the community in Dublin 15 which has a growing population.

Cllr Doyle pointed out the Urgent Care Centre is just three years old and yet, it appears to be over stretched and at max capacity.

“It is beyond comprehension that the powers that be did not future proof this facility, how can it be maxed out just after three years? Dublin 15 is well represented at Cabinet, but yet again this area is being left behind.” 

The CHI issued a statement on Friday last on their website announcing the walk-in facility was no longer available.

It added: “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.”

Cllr Mary McCamley (Lab) asked: “How can this be called an urgent care centre – this is what it has come to – bar coding for our children’s health!  Urgent care IS what it should be and that means URGENT. “

“When this centre was built on the grounds of Connolly Hospital, it was to be a facility where parents could run to, instead of the trek into town – it would be able to treat children with minor injuries – a walk in service – top of the range. 

“The CHI notice states that the change will support families – How?  This service is essential to the parents of the area and the last thing a parent wants to think about is a bar code when the child is ill.” 

Deputy Donnolly also described the decision as “madness and goes against everything we were told when the two satellite children’s units were opened in Tallaght and Blanchardstown.  “

Neither the HSE nor the CHI responded to Gazette enquiries.

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