There is a call for the “immediate reopening” of the 12-bed closure at the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dun Laoghaire.
The closure of the beds at the facility in January 2017 has seen multiple calls for their reopening.
The NRH provides complex specialist rehabilitation services to patients who have acquired a physical or cognitive disability.
Senator Victory Boyhan recently raised the issue in Seanad Eireann and said he is tired of “lame excuses” from the Department of Health on the matter.
He is calling on the Minister for Health to explain “why the NRH has not been provided with the necessary staffing, resources and specialist supports that are required to enable it to provide a safe and appropriate level of rehabilitative care to patients up to its full bed capacity”.
He said: “The hospital says that it wishes to restore the much-needed paediatric cover for this hospital to allow it to get on with providing inpatient services and to resume as early as possible.
“In January 2017 the hospital had 12 beds closed. Despite promises to open them we confirmed in July that six had been opened. In August, another six beds closed. It is unacceptable.”
In response, Minister Jim Daly said: “Services provided at the hospital include a paediatric programme which is delivered by a paediatric team based on campus with clinical oversight provided by a consultant paediatrician who is based offcampus at another hospital.
“Until recently this consultant paediatric oversight had been provided by a paediatrician at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, whose contract includes a seven-hour clinical attachment to the NRH.
“The consultant paediatrician in question has recently gone on unplanned long-term leave, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital is not in a position to provide consultant oversight to the NRH’s paediatric programme.
“In light of this, the NRH has reluctantly closed its inpatient paediatric service on the basis that it is not possible to appropriately assess and triage new paediatric referrals and medically manage paediatric patients.
“I am aware that the parents of children requiring inpatient and day care services at the NRH are very concerned and I assure them that all is being done by the HSE to address this situation.
“The Children’s hospital group has confirmed that officials have been working to identify another consultant paediatrician with an interest in disability to fill the vacancy to provide appropriate clinical paediatric oversight to the services provided in the NRH.”