Fianna Fáil Senator Dr. Keith Swanick has called on the Health Minister to seriously consider using the existing district hospital network to alleviate the pressure being experienced in our acute hospitals. Senator Swanick was speaking at the Institute of Community Health Nurses conference earlier today.
The Mayo based GP explained, “The district hospital network is a useful asset in our health service that is not being effectively utilised. We need to maximise the services provided in these hospitals so that patients have an alternative to already overcrowded Emergency Departments and acute hospitals. District hospitals can be used in the treatment of minor medical conditions thereby alleviating the pressure on bigger units.
“Almost every county has a district hospital making it an almost nationwide resource. These hospitals could be used for step down care, could accommodate certain outpatient clinics or be used as an intermediate care setting for older people who have been discharged from hospital. This district hospital proposal could have a major impact in alleviating the pressure on the hospital system by preventing admission to and facilitating discharge from acute units.
“Any improvements in the health sector can only be brought about through tangible budgets. Fianna Fáil secured an agreement from Fine Gael on multi-year budgeting, supported by a 5 year HSE service plan based on realistic, verifiable projections, as part of our agreement to facilitate a minority Government. This is the first step in securing a better health service, but there is a long way to go. Not only does there need to be more realistic budgeting, there also needs to be a rebalancing of the budget allocated for primary care.
“Fianna Fáil is committed to developing a publicly funded health system that will see investment in reforms which will put patients and services first. We will work with the staff within the system to build on existing strengths and provide real improvements for patients”.