Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has written to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly after Tallaght Hospital’s paediatric unit reopened on Monday without a surgical consultation facility. This means that Tallaght is unable to serve seriously ill or injured children who will have to be diverted to other hospitals as a result.

Teachta Crowe said:

“In the last couple of days, I have been contacted by several staff of the Children’s Health Ireland Unit of Tallaght Hospital about their reopening which took place on Monday.

“On the day they were to reopen services after a 5 month closure, they were informed by Zoom call that there was to be no surgical consult staff providing a service to CHI Tallaght as they had withdrawn their services. The staff who contacted me say that this is a result of the surgical consult team being spread across three health campuses.

“This has a massive repercussion on the level of service that Tallaght can provide and they can no longer be classified as an emergency department for paediatric medicine.

“While the staff inform me that the plan is to transition Tallaght into an Urgent Care Centre, the building and facilities will not be ready for at least a year and that the treatment pathways and planning needed for such a change has not been started.

“The staff who contacted me are very worried about this withdrawal of services from a CHI unit that served 34,458 acutely ill and injured children in 2019 in an area that has experienced consistent population growth in recent years.

“Ambulances could conceivably drive past the gate of Tallaght Hospital carrying a serious ill child to another hospital. Without the necessary surgical personnel, there is a very real danger that the Tallaght Children’s Emergency Department will become a watered down, glorified bandages and bruises clinic that would be of no benefit to seriously ill or sick children in its large catchment area.

“I have written to the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to stress the importance of CHI Tallaght having a full surgical consultation facility to enable them to continue to treat seriously ill and injured children. It is a vital resource in the area that must be maintained.”