Access to single rooms remains a challenge at Tallaght University Hospital (TUH), this newspaper has been told. The issue was raised at the July meeting of the TUH board. Minutes noted that “access to single rooms remains a significant challenge, particularly with the loss of CHI [Children’s Health Ireland] beds and will continue into the winter flu season”. The minutes also stated that the hospital had “retained a Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 pathway” for patients presenting to the emergency department (ED). “The complexity of returning to normal activity with a blend of virtual and faceto-face clinics is a significant challenge for the hospital.” A hospital spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI) that since July the Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 pathways have been maintained, but that challenges remained. “During the first [wave of ] Covid-19, CHI at Tallaght vacated their ED and wards to support TUH adult services. This temporary relocation provided the hospital with additional capacity including 45 inpatient beds,” the spokesperson told MI.
“The paediatric service has since returned to the campus, so this space is no longer available to the adult service.” On the pathways in emergency services, the spokesperson said it remained divided into two areas – one for suspected Covid-19 patients and the other for non-Covid-19, with both areas staffed separately per shift. This is in line with HSE/Health Protection Surveillance Centre guidelines for the appropriate management of patient care pathways for ED attendances, according to the spokesperson. “Patients are triaged as quickly as possible and streamed appropriately based on their clinical needs, with areas retained within the ED for suspected cases of Covid-19. The hospital would continue to seek the public’s support and would ask the public to attend their GP in the first instance where appropriate. “Access to single rooms particularly for ‘sorting’ suspected cases remains a challenge.”