Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley is calling on the Government to approve the funding for a new unit and the expansion of the Emergency Department (ED) in Portlaoise.
According to Mr Stanley, the need for a new Respiratory Assessment Unit has always been there but this has been further highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Sinn Fein TD said staff are currently operating in an inadequate facility that is too small.
He says a submission has been made to the Department of Health and the cost is estimated at around €5 million.
Deputy Stanley said: “The Health Minister and Government need to approve funding for a Respiratory Assessment Unit (RAU) and the expansion of the existing Emergency Department in Portlaoise Hospital.
The need for such a unit has always been there but this has been underlined and brought into sharp focus by the Covid 19 Emergency.
“What’s needed is the expansion of the Emergency Department to incorporate this and also create badly needed extra space to cater for general emergency admissions.
“The existing ED is very small with restricted physical space for staff and patients. Staff are working in a totally inappropriate setting to carry out assessment of patients and deliver initial treatment.
“Portlaoise is a very busy unit with an average of 40,000 attending in normal years and this needs to be recognised.
The staff in Portlaoise have worked under extraordinary pressure throughout the past 9 months. Everything possible must be done to improve the facilities they work in.
“An investment like this in the ED would also help to secure its future, something that has not yet been forthcoming from Government.
“A submission has been made to the Department of Health and Government for Portlaoise to be included in the group of hospitals to be approved for new Respiratory Assessment Units.
“The estimated cost is in the region of €5million and given the difficulties with space there at present, it’s very important that Portlaoise is approved and I am urging the Minister to sign off on it. I have appealed to Minister Donnelly to do just this.”