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Serious risks of patient harm across South/South West Hospital Group

The risk is included in the Group’s June risk register and was added as a risk in February this year, documents released via Freedom of Information legislation show.

The register also reveals that there is a risk of “patient harm” as demand exceeds capacity for urology services within the Group.

Furthermore, there is a risk of patient harm arising from inadequate pharmacy staff, no weekend out-of-hours cover, inadequate clinical pharmacy, antimicrobial stewardship and medication safety cover.

A number of other risks are identified in the register including the risk of inappropriate care and treatment of child and adolescent patients “due to a lack of timely access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) assessments resulting in patients being cared for in the inappropriate acute hospital setting”.

The register lists risks to patient and staff safety in a number of hospitals due to poor infrastrutucture and facilities, which includes the emergency department at University Hospital Waterford (UHW), the oncology department at University Hospital Kerry (UHK), and the paediatric and coronary care units at South Tipperary General Hospital (STGH).

In response, a spokesperson for the SSWHG said the Group acknowledges the risks and that a working group has been established across its hospitals to centralise prostate cancer services.

A working group is also reviewing the pharmacy, urology and prostate services across the SSWHG.

The spokesperson said that an additional urologist post commenced in Cork University Hospital (CUH) this year with linkages to UHW.

“Rapid access clinics continue in Mercy University Hospital, Cork University Hospital and UHW to mitigate risk,” the spokesperson noted. “All hospital sites are focused on improvements in medication safety.”

Data from the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) shows that in October more than 1,300 patients were awaiting a urology outpatient appointment at CUH, while almost 3,000 were awaiting a similar appointment at UHW.

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