Visit to Drogheda A&E in October 2011

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What do I think myself and what did I tell them in Drogheda?

1. Drogheda Hospital MUST have a name change as part of a rebranding exercise.

2. Droghed Hospital should be given Trust status with its own board.
The board should include local and regional political representatives.
I suggest that local and regional Chambers of Commerce, Macra, Dundalk
Institute of Technology, HSE and Limerick Graduate Entry Medical
School should have representatives, and the University of Ulster.

3. New Drogheda Hospital should aim to be a fourth level institution
with national specialities. The intention should be to turn Drogheda
into a Centre of Biomedical excellence of world renown. This is not
empty rhetoric. It is achievable over a 25 year period.

4. The A & E Department in Drogheda was designed by a project team in
2002. In my opinion they lacked vision, ambition and foresight with
regard to the potential for growth and demand. The floor footprint of
A & E is clearly about two thirds to small and needs to be extended
++. The Plan is to build a new unit in the field beside the A & E in
the immediate future at a cost (I think) €34 million. I have asked
Mr. Stephen Mulvaney who is the Chief Executive to ensure that there
is a major extension of the A & E service on the ground floor and that
this might to be accompanied by changes to a medical assessment unit.
The complaints from patients to public representatives like Michael
O’Dowd that patients feel that their dignity is not repsected when on
trolleys seem vindicated because the elevators open out into a
corridor foyer with no curtains and no sense of privacy with patient
volumes the way they are I can’t see an immediate solution to this

5. My other impression is that I was impressed by the attitude of the
two medics that we met specificially, Dr. Niamh Murphy and Dr. Dominic
O’Brannagain. Both were logical, fluent and constructive in their

6. The head of nursing, Eileen Whelan who came from the Mater
Hospital in Dublin showed an excellent air of competence and concern

7. Finally the new CEO of Drogheda, Ms. Margaret Swords is a good
appointment. She displayed a clarity of vision and a level of
ambition for the institution that gives me hope that the basket case
image of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, can be over come and replaced
by the sort of institution which I have outlined at the top of this

8. My only criticism is that there is a reluctance on the part of
hospital mangement to facilitate meeting the public directly in A & E
under the guise of protecting patient confidentiality. The public
representatives were present on business on behalf of the forum and
the public at large. It is simple enough to enquire from patients if
they would like to speak to a public representative on tour.
Forum Delegation Visit PDF