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Four key acute medical facilities non-operational due to staffing and funding deficits - Louise O'Reilly TD

16 August, 2017 - by Louise O'Reilly TD


Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly has strongly criticised the Government over the fact that in the middle of a health crisis there are four key acute medical facilities non-operational due to staffing and funding deficits.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“I find it astonishing that in the midst of the ongoing health crisis that there are a number of acute medical facilities closed or non-operational due to staffing and funding deficits.

"The Health Service Executive has revealed to me through a Parliamentary Question response where each of these acute medical facilities is located and why they are closed or non-operational. 

“Two of the closed facilities in question relate to maternity services. In Letterkenny a maternity theatre was built in 2000 as part of upgrades at the hospital.

"However, as my colleague Deputy Pearse Doherty has highlighted for a number of years now, the theatre was never commissioned due to staffing and funding deficits, meaning that since its completion 17 years ago, at a huge capital cost to the State, the theatre has never been used because there is neither the funding of the staff to do so. 

“A similar situation exists at Cork University Maternity Hospital where the second state of the art genealogical theatre has never been used for gynaecological procedures since the hospital opened in 2006.

"Not only is it a disgrace that there is neither the funding nor staff available to ensure the operation of the theatre, but it also means that the equipment in the theatre could become obsolete without it ever even being used once. 

“In the midst of the worst waiting list crisis in the history of the State there are acute medical facilities which could be reducing inpatient and outpatient surgery waiting times but are instead closed because of staffing and funding deficits. 

“At the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise an Endoscopy Room lies closed. This is in spite of the fact that there are over 200 people on a waiting list for gastrointestinal endoscopy procedures in that very hospital.

“The final closed key acute medical facility was at Naas General Hospital where the HSE informed me that a state of the art operating theatre had not been commissioned since the hospital opened in 2002 due to staffing and funding deficits. 

“The Operating Department at the hospital is of huge significance for Naas and the surrounding area given that the hospital serves the catchment area of Kildare and West-Wicklow with a population of over a quarter of a million people. However, the most concern stemmed from the fact that Naas General Hospital has an outpatient waiting list of 6,538 people.   

“The situation regarding all these facilities raises serious questions for both the HSE and the Minister for Health. Minister Harris needs to come forward and make a statement as to why, in the midst of a continuous crisis in our health service affecting maternity services and waiting lists, are four key acute medical facilities closed due to staffing and funding deficits?"

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