Surgery held up due to theatre works

UP to 30 women have had surgery for gynaecological problems postponed to facilitate theatre repairs in the National Maternity Hospital.

Emergency and scheduled gynaecology procedures will not take place for three weeks at Holles Street from July 5 to allow the replacement of a sub-standard ventilation system.

A 24-bed gynaecological ward will close at the same time, but will remain closed for five weeks to accommodate a facelift.

Holles Street secretary/manager Michael Lenihan said the air-handling unit for the theatres was not working to specification and was in urgent need of replacement.

“In order to do that, we had to close down one operating theatre. All those who have had surgery cancelled have been re-accommodated and will undergo the procedure at a later date.”

Mr Lenihan said while emergencies would also be postponed, this would not effect obstetric emergencies such as miscarriage. He said caesarean would continue to be carried out in the hospital’s second operating theatre. In the last two weeks of work on the gynaecological ward, from July 26, emergency procedures or major cancer operations will be carried out, according to a report in the Irish Medical Times.

While the curtailment of activity is necessary to accommodate upgrading work at the hospital, Mr Lenihan said the board had not ruled out greater curtailment in the future. Pressure on space was leading to a rising number of complaints from patients in relation to accommodation.

In 1993, 6,300 mothers gave birth at the hospital, the number this year is expected to reach 8,600. Mr Lenihan said they had been talking to the Department of Health since 1998 with a view to expanding capacity. A project team subsequently estimated the hospital needed 23,000 square metres to meet proper care requirements. The board has submitted an interim proposal to the department the Eastern Regional Health Authority to allow it cope with increased demand.

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