Old style infrastructure at National Orthopaedic Hospital restricting theatre capacity
A dramatic impact on the waiting list for orthopaedic surgery could be made by an investment of €70m in the National Orthopaedic Hospital in Cappagh, Dublin, the Dail has heard.
The hospital had three key demands: a new 10-bed high-dependency unit; 76 single occupancy rooms; and three additional operating theatres, TDs were told.
There were issues with meeting the Health Information and Quality Authority’s (HIQA’s) standards with the old-style structure and its high-dependency unit greatly restricted its capacity to operate its five theatres, Fianna Fail’s Deputy Jackie Cahill told TDs following a briefing last week from hospital Chief Executive, Angela Lee, and Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mr Connor Green.
On a 30 acre site, the hospital had space to facilitate the provision of much-needed additional theatre and bed capacity and Deputy Cahill understood that detailed and costed proposals were with the Department and the Health Service Executive (HSE).
For an investment of €34.5 million, it could provide the infrastructure, although that would only be for the building itself and would exclude VAT and professional fees, for example, architects’ fees. It had had detailed discussions on financing the development through a public-private partnership. “A total of €70 million would deliver what we want to deliver in Cappagh,” said Deputy Cahill.
The hospital believed it could double the number of surgeries it performed if this investment were made.
While it had to replace some of its outdated existing accommodation, Covid had also imposed extra requirements.
“I saw its high-dependency unit on Tuesday morning. It is old-fashioned and not fit for purpose. The hospital’s single-bed units are not fit for purpose either. An old building, the hospital used to be a convent. It needs significant investment,” added Deputy Cahill.
Responding to Deputy Smith’s questions, Minister of State at the Department of Health, Anne Rabbitte, stated that funding has been provided for additional paediatric orthopaedic clinics at Cappagh orthopaedic hospital and that additional outpatient clinics commenced on February 17.
Additional theatre capacity for day case surgery at Cappagh had commenced on April 26, which should have a significant positive impact through reducing long waiting times for general orthopaedic patients in addition to scoliosis patients.
Children’s Health Ireland was expanding its activity in Cappagh hospital and running additional orthopaedic clinics in Citywest using a new active clinical triage model that was reducing the number of children waiting the longest for appointments.