Health Minister James Reilly has said that the health of the community hospital in the west Cork suburb of Tipperary could be at risk if the Government’s funding is not renewed.
The Government has promised to restore funding to the hospital’s €20 million budget, but a report by the Department of Health and Social Protection (DSHP) earlier this year found that the number of hospital beds and the number that are available for patients are all on the decline.
It found that over the past 12 months, the number and the proportion of beds that are open is now around 30 per cent, which is down from over 40 per cent a year ago.
The DSHP report also found that despite the Government investing in a new hospital and investing in rehabilitation and rehabilitation-related services, the health services in the area remain underutilised.
Dr Reilly said that, while the health service is in need of improvements, it was important to remember that the majority of the population has a lot of trust in it and are proud of the care that the community has provided for them.
He said that it was vital that the Government not lose sight of the fact that the area’s hospitals are the ones that provide a significant amount of hospital services.
He continued: “It is important that the Minister is able to work with the community to deliver the necessary changes that will help improve the health care system for the area, particularly the hospital in Tipperar.”
The Government said that a full report of the findings will be submitted to the Minister on Friday.
Speaking in the DSHPP report, Dr Reilly said the Government would continue to work closely with the local community, including the Cork Cork community, to find the solutions to the problems in the community.
The Minister said that he would be speaking to the community about the need to improve the existing services, including for the community health centre in the Tipperair community, which he said would continue as planned.