Sinn Féin County Councillor in Louth Tomás Sharkey has learned that hospital managers in the Louth Meath Hospital Group may increase the bed capacity in Louth County Hospital.
Cllr Sharkey has received a copy of an internal memo to staff which says that management are carrying out “a scoping exercise to assess the possibility of increasing the inpatient bed capacity within Louth County Hospital.”
Yet Cllr Sharkey remains cautious about the latest news: “There is no issue with space or beds available in Louth County Hospital. At the minute there are only approximately 40 beds in the hospital being used. Male Medical Ward is lying empty and could provide 20 extra beds in the morning if that is what the government chose to do.
“The fact that managers are looking at increasing bed capacity in the hospital proves that they know that it was wrong to close wards in the first place. They know that the trolley crisis in Drogheda is a result of cuts in Dundalk and want to reverse this. They now need to convince their masters in government.
“The real issue that needs to be tackled is staffing. Many health workers, doctors, nurses and carers have left this country to work overseas.
“The chances of opening beds in Dundalk depend on the appointment of staff. We need more doctors, nurses, carers and attendants. We need to send out a call for the great staff that we used to have and offer them jobs in our hospital again. That is a Gathering worth having concluded Cllr Sharkey.