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Why did HIQA report not examine other options? – Ó Caoláin

9 April, 2009 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health & Children Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has questioned the findings of the HIQA investigation into Ennis Hospital and has said it is being used by Health Minister Mary Harney to justify her programme of hospital centralisation which has "nothing to do with patient safety and all to do with cutting services and cutting short-term costs".

Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

"The comments of Health Minister Mary Harney and her immediate seizing on the HIQA report on Ennis Hospital to accelerate her plans to slash services at Ennis, Nenagh, Monaghan and other hospitals will cause justifiable alarm to people throughout the State who rely on these and other hospitals.

"Patient safety must be paramount in everything and that is why this HIQA report on Ennis Hospital needs to be read and considered carefully. Many of the recommendations are constructive and welcome. However, the core recommendations involve the removal of all key services from Ennis, ending its role as an acute hospital.

"I question those core recommendations. The biggest question is why the HIQA report did not properly examine options other than the removal of all acute, complex and specialist services, including maternity and paediatric, and their centralisation at Limerick.

"In my view the Report fails to demonstrate how the cases it examined, including the tragic deaths of Edel Kelly and Ann Moriarty, lead to the conclusion that such a range of key services must be removed from Ennis and centralised in Limerick, as distinct from making all necessary improvements in Ennis itself and in the region.

"Indeed, the families of both women, have stated that they did not want to see their tragedies used as a basis for ending Ennis’s role as a general hospital serving the people of County Clare. It is equally notable that the Report says very little about those tragic cases and their direct implications.

"Minister Harney is now using this Report to pursue her centralisation drive which has nothing to do with patient safety and all to do with cutting services and cutting short-term costs but with immediately damaging consequences for patients and greater long-term costs for the State." ENDS

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