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Michael Lowry, T.D. – “Significant Progress At S.T.G.H.”

“South Tipperary General Hospital (S.T.G.H.) are doing magnificent work under General Manager Maria Barry and all her Team, together with every devoted member of staff at this hospital. With additional funding, they are making steady and worthwhile progress. They truly deserve praise and encouragement, and not criticism or snide negative commentary”.

So, stated Independent TD Mr Michael Lowry, in response to a recent public interview given by Deputy Mattie McGrath, recently.

Deputy Lowry stated; “Mattie is a great man at finding fault, specialising in criticism, but is very short on solutions and has a poor record on delivering results for the Hospital. During the past 3 years more has happened at this hospital than at any time in the previous 10 years. The cloud of doubt about its future has been lifted.”

Deputy Michael Lowry.

“We now have investment. We now have refurbishment works. We have development of services. We have expansion of bed compliment. The Hospital with whole-time equivalent positions, together with part-time roles has over 900 people working on the hospital site. Since 2016, over one hundred extra personnel are now working in the hospital complex. This includes 33 qualified nurses, 25 health care assistants, who are trained to support nurses in bedside duties. The balance is made up of additional consultants, doctors, attendants or clerical support staff. The new 11 bed trolley bay area became fully functional in 2018,” stated Lowry.

“In its first year of service 1,320 patients have used this facility to great effect. Without this unit those patients would have been on a corridor. Instead they were treated in a bed, with dignity and respect.

During 2018, “Medical 1” underwent a significant refurbishment programme. All flooring was replaced, bathrooms were upgraded, and improved lighting was installed. All areas were painted. An enhanced “nurse call” system was put in place.

While the new 40 bed modular unit did incur delays outside of my control, significant progress has been made. The site has been cleared. Services such as water, sanitation and drains have been put in place. Foundations and plinth bases for the modular units is almost complete. The modular frames which are in safe and secure storage, in Cahir, will be delivered to the site in the next 3 weeks. The link bridge between the hospital and the new unit is completed.

This is a major project. It takes time and the benefits of the additional bed compliment will be enormous. The Capital Cost of this Unit €12 million is provided for. Additional funds will be required for equipment and the day to day costs to staff and run the unit. The Senior Management of the Hospital have been very busy. They have quietly and efficiently prepared a business plan and put forward a business case for the required additional money. This Business Plan is being dealt with by the HSE nationally. I am confident that the funds required will be available from the 2019 budget. This project has had the full support of An Taoiseach Mr Leo Varadkar, the Minister for Health Mr Simon Harris and the Government.

This year, 2019, will see the further development of facilities and services with new additional staff appointments. Over €1 million has been allocated to various projects to include the upgrade of the laboratory. Refurbishment of the coronary care unit and acute medical assessment unit. Upgrade of kitchenettes and a new internal paging system. Approval has also been received to make changes to the main entrance of the hospital and to improve the emergency department entrance. This work is designed to reduce weather impact and to avoid closing these access points as a result of harsh weather conditions. Some 8 new consultancy posts have been sanctioned and will be advertised in the coming year.”

Deputy Lowry further stated, “Critics should recall that this hospital was listed for downgrading in 2007. Plans were in place to transfer acute services from Clonmel to Kilkenny and Waterford. For years the hospital was in limbo, completely ignored and side lined with no investment. I don’t apologise for the fact that my political intervention at the behest of the consultants and management of the hospital has heralded a solid stable future for the hospital with an exceptional level of funding to match the ambition. Unlike others I prefer to be positive, to be constructive, to get things done, to find solutions and achieve results.”

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