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Stanley calls for long-term commitment of retention of services at Portlaoise hospital

6 July, 2011 - by Brian Stanley TD

Speaking in the Dáil this evening on the Sinn Féin Private Members Business on hospital services, the party’s TD for Laois-Offaly Deputy Brian Stanley called on the Government to give a long term commitment to the retention of services at Portlaoise Hospital beyond the brief six month period they have guaranteed services for.

Deputy Stanley said;

“Sinn Féin believes that it is essential emergency facilities are retained in regional hospitals. We are all aware that there are serious threats to Portlaoise hospital because of the crisis with NCHDs. Following a meeting I had with the Minister for Health on Monday, it could be said that there appears to be a slightly more optimistic outlook for the moment, as the Minister has said that he doesn’t want to see a closure and reduction in emergency services in Portlaoise. So we have a stay of execution.

“In the medium-term, the Minister may be trying to say that things will be ok for Portlaoise Hospital, but this does not take from the serious concerns there are for the long-term future of regional hospitals in general. If Portlaoise is to continue as a major regional hospital, there needs to be a significant increase in the hospital’s budget as well as the number of consultants attached to it. This was confirmed by senior officials from the Minister’s own Department when we met with them on Monday. I welcomed the HSE statement that will be able to maintain 24hour emergency services from 11 July pending the remaining number of junior doctor posts being filled. But as reported by a member of Fine Gael at yesterday’s meeting of the Dublin/Midlands Health Forum, the position is only secured (RE: A&E and surgery) for 6 months.

“I would am calling on the Minister for tell the people of Laois-Offaly when we will see a health service that does not continually operate on the basis of contingency plans – lurching from one crisis to another?”

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