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The Medical Independent (MI) understands the move has led to disquiet among some staff and a petition has been gathered against the move.
However a hospital spokesperson told MI that the current set up is not sustainable and that the “conversion of a paediatric ward (Beech Ward) into an adult ward and represents the most appropriate solution in response to the requirements of all communities served by Tallaght Hospital”.
The spokesperson claimed, “there will be no diminution of services as a result of the proposed changes underway with regard to the reconfiguration of adult and paediatric services”.
“There are a total of 61 inpatient paediatric beds at the National Children’s Hospital (NCH) Tallaght and the average occupancy of these inpatient beds in 2014 was 56 per cent,” said the spokesperson.
“Since 2012, 16 inpatient beds have been closed at the NCH and even with these closures there remains sufficient inpatient bed space to meet current demand on an ongoing basis.
“There are currently 414 adult inpatient beds at Tallaght Hospital and adult inpatient bed occupancy was at overcapacity for 48 per cent of the time in 2014. This reflects the growing requirement for adult inpatient beds across the hospital system due to an aging population and greater case complexity.
“It is not sustainable to have under utilised capacity on a protracted basis in one part of the Hospital while there is a significant and ongoing challenge with bed occupancy in another part of the Hospital.
“This reconfiguration is underpinned by the opening later this year of a newly developed eight bedded Short Stay Observation Unit in the paediatric Emergency Department at Tallaght Hospital. A recruitment campaign is underway to recruit staff to facilitate the opening of this unit in Q3 of this year with the support of the HSE.
“There has been no reduction in activity at the National Children’s Hospital in fact there was an increase in paediatrics in 2014 on previous years. The National Children’s Hospital will continue to meet its national paediatric inpatient and day-care targets this year and paediatric waiting lists at Tallaght Hospital will not be affected by the proposed changes.”