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Blood tests suspended until September at Mid Western - HSE memo

24 July, 2008

Sinn Féin Limerick spokesperson Maurice Quinlivan has received a HSE memo detailing cutbacks imposed on the Pathology department of the Mid-Western regional Hospital. Quinlivan said it is clear from the memo that Government imposed HSE cutbacks continue to affect patient care and will be accelerated over the summer months and called for public pressure to oppose further cuts.

Documentation received by Quinlivan confirms that:

1. Most blood testing has been suspended until September.

2. That the department is unable to carry out testing for routine auto-immune screens such as ANA and lupus etc.

3. That the provision of Microscopy diagnostic services on all urines will not be performed with a few exceptions.

4. That delays and curtailments are to be expected in the Histology department.

5. Tests such as thyroid functioning tests should not be carried out in July or August but postponed until later.

Quinlivan said: "Management at the Department of Pathology at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Dooradoyle have suspended and reduced many of the functions of the department. These cuts are a direct consequences of staff shortages.

"Today I was given a copy of a circular by a disgusted health care professional. The circular from the HSE in Limerick is announcing that since the 11th of July the Pathology department of the Mid-Western Regional Hospital has had to suspend or curtail a number of "blood test" related procedures and associated tests until after the summer. These tests are being suspended as a direct result of staff shortages and the failure to have a summer locum worker appointed.

"Today also I met a woman who is in need of regular blood tests. She now has to wait until September for her next blood test. She was informed by her GP that no blood tests will be processed until September due to Government cutbacks. She was clearly distressed that she will have to wait at least 6 weeks for her blood texts to be processed. An unnecessary wait like this simply beggars belief. This is what one would expect in a third world country not one of the supposed richest countries in the world.

"The decision to curtail and stop blood testing is simply another cost-cutting measure which cannot but effect patient care. No doubt the government is taking full use of its holidays to have these and similar cuts filtered through to patients.

"People need to be vigilant in defence of threatened hospital and health services. Whilst we all in the Mid West await with trepidation the publication or implementation by stealth of the teamwork report and its expected call to close the Accident and Emergency Department in St. John's Hospital public pressure is needed to oppose these cuts." ENDS

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