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Centralisation of hospital care unacceptable – Ó Caoláin

4 April, 2008


Sinn Féin Health spokesperson and Cavan/Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, responding to news that Navan, Co. Meath is to be recommended as the location for the proposed new North East Regional Hospital, stated:

"The new regional hospital might as well be in Dublin as in Navan as far as the people of Cos. Monaghan, Louth and large swathes of Cavan are concerned. There is little difference in the distance they would have to travel and road access would be superior.

"From the first announcement of a proposed new regional hospital for the North East, I have made clear that the primary issue for Sinn Féin in this region was our support for existing local hospitals, our opposition to their downgrading and our firm belief that centralising virtually all hospital services in one location would be disastrous. We also sought to impress on those tasked with identifying a proposed site the importance of locating in the northern reaches of the North East region to facilitate and be in a position to maximise the potential that can arise from cross border co-operation in the provision of acute hospital facilities.

"Long before any site for a regional hospital had been confirmed services at local hospitals, including Our Lady's in Navan, have been slashed. Acute hospital services at Monaghan and Dundalk have been axed and Cavan and Drogheda hospitals are clearly experiencing the effects of the resultant displacement and current HSE cutbacks. Where services have not been taken away altogether they are under severe pressure and adequate resources have been denied to them. All this has been done on the promise that a new regional hospital will solve all our problems.

"Now we find that not only is over-centralisation to plough ahead but that the proposed location of the new regional hospital is giving rise to further and fully rational concerns.

"For our part we will continue to fight the strategy of centralisation of virtually all hospital services. We will continue to demand the retention of services at local hospitals and their further development and we will demand the development of the new regional hospital at an appropriate, accessible location mindful of all the region's needs." ENDS

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