A full paediatric service resumed at the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH), Dún Laoghaire, at the end of November following the temporary suspension of its inpatient service, the Medical Independent (MI) understands.
According to minutes of an NRH board meeting in September, the Chief Executive Mr Derek Greene reported that “the hospital has had to close its paediatric inpatient service (six beds) due to the unplanned absence of the single-handed consultant who provides seven hours’ cover to the unit”.
The minutes added that the hospital met with the Children’s Hospital Group, Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Social Care and Enable Ireland “to discuss this serious matter, however no satisfactory solution has been found”.
He further stated “although our inpatient service is closed, the paediatric programme are still providing outpatient, day and therapy service to patients, however the inpatient waiting list continues to grow as patients wait for admission”.
On 30 January, a spokesperson for the NRH told MI: “The NRH and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, actively worked with the HSE and relevant agencies to resolve the temporary suspension of the Inpatient Paediatric Rehabilitation Service at the NRH and restore the much-needed consultant paediatrician cover to allow the service to resume at the earliest possible juncture… An additional paediatrician consultant has commenced working in the service on a part-time basis, which ensures that consultant paediatrician cover is available for the full paediatric service as required.”
During the temporary suspension, the NRH “continued treating children who were medically stable and who had previously been assessed by the consultant paediatrician as being safe for engagement with NRH Outpatient Therapy Services during the period of temporary suspension of inpatient services”.
Patients on the waiting list for admission and those newly referred to the services, or who were affected by the disruption, were being reviewed by the paediatric team as a priority, the spokesperson added.
As of late January, there were 27 children on the waiting list for admission to the inpatient paediatric service.