Cavan/Monaghan GPs must be listened to – Ó Caoláin
Sinn Féin Health spokesperson and Cavan-Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caolain has demanded that the Minister for Health & Children Mary Harney act on the call of General Practitioners in Cavan and Monaghan for the HSE not to go ahead with the planned closure of 56 acute medical beds in Monaghan General Hospital.
In an open letter (Irish Medical News, 2 February) 41 GPs in Counties Cavan and Monaghan expressed "alarm" regarding the safety of the proposed ending of acute inpatient care at Monaghan General Hospital and the replacement of its 56 beds with six Medical Assessment Unit beds in Cavan General Hospital. The letter announced the withdrawal of GP representation from HSE planning groups regarding the so-called 'Transformation' of hospital services in Cavan and Monaghan.
Commenting on this development, Deputy Ó Caoláin, said:
"The withdrawal of GPs in Counties Cavan and Monaghan from planning on the so-called 'Transformation' strategy for our hospitals removes the HSE's last pretence that this process has anything to do with improved patient care or moving care closer to the patient. These key primary healthcare providers have made clear that the safety of patients will be at risk if acute inpatient care at Monaghan is axed as planned.
"The Minister for Health & Children Mary Harney must listen to the GPs who are saying that the safety implications of the plan are such that they require the HSE to provide a full independent risk assessment of the closure of the 56 beds and of the capacity of GPs to provide a safe service in such circumstances.
"It is very significant that the GPs have pointed out that the HSE is attempting to replace 56 acute medical beds in Monaghan with six beds in the Medical Assessment Unit in Cavan General Hospital. The GPs do not regard this as a replacement and rightly so. It represents a cut in services overall and will place an untenable burden on an already over-stretched Cavan General Hospital.
"If the Minister for Health & Children and the HSE refuse to act on the call of the Cavan/Monaghan GPs the gross irresponsibility of their plans will be more clearly exposed than ever." ENDS