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Hogan to meet Harney regarding Athlone’s Health Service

9 June, 2010

Sinn Fein Councillor Paul Hogan is part of a cross party delegation to meet Minister for Health Mary Harney today in Leinster House at 5pm to discuss the decimation of Athlone’s health service.

The proposed closure of Loughloe House Nursing Home by the Health Service Executive will be top of the agenda. Other items include the withdrawal of €20m for a Primary Care Unit at Clonbrusk in Athlone and the reduction of services at St. Vincent’s Hospital.

Councillor Hogan said:

“Loughloe House will top the agenda today. Since the proposed closure on 6th of May, three residents who were present for the announcement are now deceased. I sympathise with their families. Another two residents have suffered heart attacks and one other man suffered a stroke. This level of sickness is unprecedented at the home and I believe it is directly linked to the stress and anxiety being caused by the tactics and methods being used by the HSE to relocate residents.

“The explanation given for the closure by the HSE does not stand up. The HIQA report did not recommend closure. The HSE tried to use the HIQA report to close the facility to further their own agenda.

“Their efforts will be opposed. We will use every avenue available to oppose the closure of Loughloe House. We want to see the complete reversal of the HSE’s decision to close Loughloe House.

“Our health services have been decimated over the last two decades. In 1999, the Midland Health Board purchased a site at Clonbrusk in Athlone, costing €1m. This purchase was to provide the location for the Primary Care Unit. It was the strategy of the HSE to transfer health services to this health campus. The HSE allocated €20m for this provision since 2005 up until this year’s HSE Capital Budget, when it was withdrawn.

“Planning permission was granted by Westmeath County Council in May 2009. Over €750,000 was spent by the HSE on the design and planning process. The Primary Care Unit is now, according to the HSE, off the agenda until at least 2016. If work does not start in 2016 then the €750,000 spent obtaining planning permission will be lost due to the seven year rule in the Planning and Development Act.

“Services at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Athlone are also under threat due to mismanagement by the HSE for many years. We currently have no respite care in Athlone and the HSE are refusing to take referrals”, concluded Cllr. Hogan.

Cllr. Paul Hogan 087 905 4960

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