Update in relation to the closure of two theatres in Merlin Park hospital following a meeting with Minister Harris and stakeholders, including consultants from both Merlin and UHG, at Leinster House this afternoon

Deputy Connolly said she attended the meeting organised by Minster Harris this afternoon, Wednesday 4th October, in relation to the closed theatres in Merlin Park hospital. It emerged during that meeting that this was a crisis waiting to happen given that it was accepted by all that the building housing the operating theatres was not fit for purpose for a considerable time.

As a result of this and previous governments’ failures to deal with this situation, the inevitable crisis resulted with the scandalous situation of a leaking roof in an operating theatre. Consequently approximately 60 patients scheduled for knee and hip operations on a weekly basis have been left without not just care but furthermore any knowledge of when they will get their operations.

Given the nature of this crisis, and given that it is now over a month since the first leak occurred, Deputy Connolly said that the failure to provide a written contingency plan at today’s meeting was of great concern. Indeed, it has taken all of this pressure, including raising the matter in the Dáil, for management and the Minster to consider interim solutions. Amongst those solutions are the re-opening of St. Finbar’s ward in UHG (which begs the question as to why it remained closed in the first place), the use of private facilities, and the provision of modular operating theatres.

Deputy Connolly said while these proposals are welcome as a temporary solution, the lack of clarity around planning permission for the modular theatres, including a time span for their erection, and the delay in opening St Finbar’s is of great concern, particularly in light of the amount of time that has elapsed since the leak was first detected.

In the circumstances Deputy Connolly said a further follow up meeting in two weeks’ time is absolutely essential. The Minister has agreed to this request.

In the meantime it is essential that the patients whose surgeries have been cancelled are informed as to when they will receive their surgeries.



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