The Health Service Executive (HSE) is “exploring all options” to reopen a medical assessment unit at Naas Hospital.
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The acute unit closed last month “due to sick leave and our inability to obtain suitably qualified medical staff to fill this vacancy”, the HSE said in a statement issued to the Leader.
It added that it is attempting to recruit medical doctors and restore the service at the Acute Medical Assessment Unit (AMAU) as soon as possible.
Measures being taken include recruitment campaigns in conjunction with HBS Recruit (the HSE’s recruitment section) and the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group.
AMAUs are opened for patients who require medical assessment rather than admission, to be streamed to this service, either from the Emergency Department, or by referral directly from their GP.
While attending the AMAU, those patients can have tests and investigations performed within the day, preventing an unnecessary admission to hospital.
Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare South, Fiona O’Loughlin, said the closure of the assessment unit in Naas A&E is further evidence of the Government neglect of the entire hospital system.
She said: “There is a crisis in Naas A&E at present, the numbers on trolleys don’t appear to be subsiding despite us being well outside of the annual winter flu epidemic. We have even heard from an 88-year-old woman who was on a trolley for three nights, deteriorating as time went by. This is simply unacceptable.
“To hear that the acute assessment unit is now closed, and that it will remain closed until such as time as someone is recruited, is just another knock to the staff in the hospital who are doing their best despite the highly pressurised conditions they are working in.
“Naas General Hospital is being neglected. There doesn’t appear to be any great appetite on the part of the Government to tackle the problem head on. The Minister for Health can’t stand by and watch it disintegrate bit by bit.
“I asked him directly in Dáil Éireann to come and visit the hospital and to see for himself the situation there. Despite saying he would revert to me, I have yet to hear anything from him”, she concluded.