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Memo confirms further dangerous downgrading of Monaghan Hospital – Ó Caoláin

8 October, 2007

A leaked memo from management to the staff of Monaghan General Hospital has been described by Sinn Féin Health spokesperson and Cavan/Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin as "confirmation that the dangerous downgrading of Monaghan General Hospital is proceeding apace". The unit where Deputy Ó Caolain was treated after his heart attack earlier this year is to be closed.

The Sinn Féin Dáil leader stated today, "The memo from the General Manager of the Cavan/Monaghan Hospital Group Dermot Monaghan, states that the 'Transformation Programme' includes the ending of Monaghan Hospital Acute Services, including High Care, and their transfer to Cavan General Hospital. The Minor Injuries Unit (Treatment Room) will be downgraded from a 24-hour Emergency Department to a 12-hour nurse-led unit.

"During the course of the General Election I highlighted another leaked HSE document which signalled the changes now confirmed in the Dermot Monaghan memo.

"Make no mistake, this memo is confirmation that the dangerous downgrading of Monaghan General Hospital is proceeding apace.

"When I suffered a heart attack earlier this year I was treated in the High Care unit at Monaghan General and I benefited from the accessible, prompt and efficient care I received there. Now this service is to be axed and thousands of people in the catchment area of Monaghan General Hospital will be put at risk. They will be obliged to travel to Cavan General Hospital which itself will be adversely affected by further pressure on its already stretched services.

"These changes are totally unacceptable and I will continue to oppose them. The HSE, Health Minister Harney and, ultimately, An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, are responsible for this and they must be held to account. I fully intend to hold them to account on every opportunity open to me and I urge all TDs and Senators, irrespective of party allegiance, to do the same." ENDS

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