Still no certainty on the future of Portlaoise Hospital – Brian Stanley TD
Earlier today, Brian Stanley Sinn Féin TD for Laois, held a meeting with the Health Minister Simon Harris.
Deputy Stanley said:
“We still don’t have certainty on the future of the Emergency Department (ED) and other core services in Portlaoise. The Minister said 'his mind is not made up yet' but that he did want to bring clarity regarding this soon.
"Minister Harris outlined that while the plan from Dr. Susan O’Reilly advocates closing services, other medical experts and practitioners have a different view and feel they have not had an input and that the process was incomplete. He committed to meeting these and to “consider all the evidence” before he made any final decision."
“Dr. Susan O’Reilly’s plan does not have proper costings and is based on false population figures for the catchment area. Implementing this plan means ignoring the importance of the 'golden hour' in terms of emergency cases.
"I brought to the Ministers attention a report from the Royal College of Emergency Medicine in England on the centralisation of ED’s. This found 'local emergency departments must retain basic capability to treat time critical problems'.
"Centralisation puts 'additional stress on local primary care and ambulance systems'. I reminded the Minister there is a chronic shortage of GP’s to provide primary care in Laois and there is only one ambulance based in the county on Monday and Tuesday nights.
"The report went on to say that 'increased transport times resulting from reconfiguration will have a disproportionate effect in rural areas and on vulnerable patients' and 'increased travel times are associated with worse outcomes'.
"The Report concluded that 'perceived cost efficiencies may be illusionary' and that 'there is an inherent unintended consequence of rendering other services at the same site non-viable' where you close an ED.
"This is exactly why Dr. Susan O’Reilly’s plan is not just to remove the ED, but also Paediatrics, Maternity and Intensive Care Unit.
"What’s now needed is confidence and certainty regarding retention of core services at Portlaoise.”