THE TAOISEACH visited the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire this week to break ground on phase one of the new development amid pressures to reopen a number of closed beds at the facility.
Leo Varadkar was joined by Health Minister Simon Harris to turn the sod on Phase 1 of the new development which will see the existing ward accommodation replaced by a new block of 120 single, en-suite rooms.
It will include integrated therapy spaces, a new sports hall, a hydrotherapy unit and a temporary concourse as well as clinical and ancillary spaces.
In addition, links to the existing building will ensure full integration between the new development and the existing hospital on the site.
The closure of 12 beds at the facility last January has seen multiple calls for their reopening but staff and financial shortages have prevented this.
The NRH is the only hospital of its kind in the whole country, specialising in providing complex medical specialist rehabilitation services for the national population.
Local Senator Victor Boyhan has welcomed the Phase 1 development of the new hospital but says he will continue to push for the reopening of the closed beds in the short term and ensure that funding is in included in the Government Capital Budget for Phase 2 of the development.
“Patients with debilitating and crippling injuries that affect mobility and quality of life are among those most severely hit by the 12 hospital beds closed since January 2017.”
Senator Boyhan said that there was a substantial patient waiting list for in-patient and out-patient treatment at the NRH.
“It is unacceptable that many of these patients are ‘trapped’ in acute hospital beds in other hospitals.”
The Independent senator told The Gazette that he has been assured by Minister Harris that two of the 12 closed bed will be reopened before the end of the year.
“In relation to the 12 hospital beds that were closed in January 2017, I will continue to advocate for the reopening of these beds,” he said.
“Minister Harris has assured me that a further two beds will be reopened before end of 2017 and that hopefully the remaining eight will reopen in 2018. I will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that this actually happens.”
Speaking at Monday’s ceremony, the Taoiseach said that the new hospital will “provide a patient-centred approach” and “provide the staff of the hospital with an excellent facility within which to continue their work”.
Minister Harris said that the new facility will “make a real difference to the lives of the children and adults who pass through the doors of the NRH”.
“This new development will enable staff to deliver optimal quality care and treatment in a facility which affords dignity, respect and privacy to all.”
Senator Boyhan added: “I want commitment from the Minister to work on getting funding in place in the second phase of the development but the focus must remain on reopening the 12 beds that were closed.”