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Sinn Féin Will Oppose Any Removal of Rheumatology Services from Manorhamilton – Mac Lochlainn

6 March, 2009

Sinn Féin candidate for the North West EU Constituency Cllr Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has demanded that the HSE clarify its intentions regarding rheumatology services for the northwest which are currently provided at Manorhamilton in North Leitrim.

Cllr Mac Lochlainn said

"Our Lady's Hospital in Manorhamilton County Leitrim currently provides rheumatology services for Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal on behalf of Sligo General Hospital and has done so for many years.

"Patients across the northwest are very concerned by reports that the HSE is reviewing the provision of rheumatology services in Manorhamilton. The HSE needs to clarify the position regarding these services. There can be no justification for removing these vital services from Manorhamilton.

He continued:

"Patients have praised the quality of the rheumatology services which they have received in Manorhamilton. Thanks to the fundraising efforts of the local community Our Lady's Hospital has a hydrotherapy pool. This expensive piece of infrastructure plays an important role in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Any proposal to remove these services now would make no sense nor would plans to relocate them to Sligo General which would not have the capacity to provide them.

"If a shortfall in the public finances including the fact that revenue from the health levy has fallen as a result of the rise in unemployment is the reason why the HSE is reviewing these services then that funding shortfall has to be addressed. Removing vital services is not the answer. Sinn Féin has called for an increase in the health levy to be paid by those earning over €100,000 and this proposal should now be implemented to make up the shortfall in the revenue from the health levy which has resulted from the rise in unemployment. The money must be found to continue to provide excellent services such as those for rheumatoid arthritis patients attending Our Lady's Hospital in Manorhamilton."

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