Important Visitor at Tullamore Hospital

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Acting HSE CEO Stephen Mulvany urged healthcare workers to get their flu shots and Covid booster shots, during a visit to health services in Offaly and Laois today.

This is part of a series of service visits across the country.

Mr Mulvany highlighted the significant increase in Covid hospitalizations and what this means for the rest of the hospital and community health system.

Emergency departments continue to be extremely busy with a high number of patients, many with complex needs requiring admission. A range of initiatives are already being implemented as part of the National Service Plan to ease pressures on emergency care. These include additional capacity in terms of beds, staff and strengthening of community care teams. The focus on improvement under the winter plan includes reductions in the number of patients accommodated on carts, reductions in the number of DTOCs (delayed care transfers) and reductions in the overall length of stay at the within the acute care hospital, to support improved patient experience times (TEP) for all patients, and special consideration for patients over the age of 75.

Mr Mulvany said: ‘As we face winter we are already seeing seasonal illnesses set in, with flu circulating and a marked increase in RSV in young children, we have recorded 325 cases last week against 177 cases the previous week. Last week, we also reported 18 Covid-19 outbreaks in our hospitals, leading to visitation restrictions at some sites, impacting our emergency services, patients and staff as they follow the infection prevention and control guidelines.

Speaking about flu and Covid vaccinations, he urged staff to protect themselves, their patients and their families. “The potential spread of Covid and the low usage of boosters among healthcare workers is a concern for the Health Service ahead of winter in terms of the health and well-being of our staff as well as the potential impact of the sickness and absenteeism of staff on our ability to deliver health services. I urge staff to follow the example of the thousands upon thousands of staff who have already received the flu shot, and encourage all staff to take up the offer of a Covid booster shot.

During his visit, Mr. Mulvany met staff involved in a range of initiatives and heard about collaboration and integration of acute and community services to improve health outcomes. An important part of the visit is to recognize and thank staff for their work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

At Midlands Regional Hospital Tullamore and Portlaoise, he met with hospital management and the CEO of Dublin Midlands Hospital Group. At Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore, he met with staff working in the emergency and outpatient departments to see improvements in patient flow and integrated care initiatives that reduce ER presentations, length of stay and improve patient access and patient experience through collaborative work with colleagues in the community. While at Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise, he had the opportunity to see the new Ambulatory Gynecology Center and hear about service developments that are improving access, service capacity and wait times for the patients. He thanked staff at both hospitals for their work and took the opportunity to say goodbye to hospital director Michael Knowles, who is retiring next week after 41 years in the health service.

Mr Mulvany also visited the HSE offices at Arden Road in Tullamore for a presentation on enhanced community care, co-chaired by the CEO of Dublin Midlands Hospital Group and the chief executive of community health organization Midlands Louth Meath. He spoke with the Laois/Offaly home support team and then traveled to Tullamore Primary Care Center to meet the Offaly CAMHS team, Laois/Offaly ECD, CIT/Reablement team and ECC teams .

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