Cllr. Charlie O’Connor has said that despite the fact staff in Tallaght University Hospital have been asking for a HSE Winter Plan to be put in place in advance of the season, the plan has only just been announced. O’Connor quizzed the Chief Executive earlier this month on the contingencies in place to deal with the winter time challenges at the hospital. He said, “While I welcome the fact that the HSE has finally devised a winter plan for hospitals such as Tallaght to manage over the next while, this strategy should have been published months ago. “The winter has already set in and the demand it imposes on our hospital services is already being felt across the health sector. Surely a well-integrated strategy designed to improve the provision of services for staff and patients during a demanding time should have been put in place before these challenges were due to arise.

“Staff in Tallaght work tirelessly to provide care in challenging circumstances each winter period, just as they do every other month of the year. They requested this plan earlier this year but have had to wait until the second week of December to see any details due to the disorganisation and mismanagement within our health service. “Overcrowding in Tallaght is already an issue with people on trolleys daily. It’s difficult then to consider what meaningful impact this winter plan could have on improving efficiency at this late stage. As the Chief Executive has informed me, the hospital will be a focus site this winter – in light of this I urge the HSE to deliver the supportive initiatives that will be required including additional ED staff.

“If the HSE had engaged in long-term, advanced planning then routine medical help could still be offered, even during busy periods. If those providing treatment and care had been properly listened to, this year could have been different but instead a strategy aimed at managing the winter demand won health services was published in the middle of the winter,” he concluded.