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HSE cuts attack patient safety in North East – Ó Caoláin

29 June, 2010 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health & Children spokesperson and Cavan-Monaghan TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has said the HSE is attacking patient safety in the North East region with the closure of the Emergency Department at Louth County Hospital in Dundalk and the removal of both the Rapid Response Vehicle and the Patient Transport Ambulance from Monaghan to Castleblayney. He stated:

“Today is another bleak day for health services in the North East region but especially for people in North Monaghan and North Louth. From this morning the HSE axe has fallen on the Emergency Department at Louth County Hospital in Dundalk. And from today also both the Rapid Response Vehicle 24/7 service, with its Advanced Paramedic, and the Patient Transport Ambulance, staffed by two emergency medical technicians, are being removed from Monaghan to Castleblayney.

“This is an attack on patient safety in the North East. The Dundalk closure will place further enormous pressure on the already overstretched Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

“The removal of vital ambulance services from Monaghan is directly related to the Dundalk closure as the ambulances will be based in Castleblayney to now serve both Louth and Monaghan.

“It is an outrage that people in the North Monaghan and Clones areas are having these emergency services moved a further half an hour’s driving distance from them, thus increasing the risk to patient safety across the biggest population area of the county.

“In April 2008 in its so-called ‘Transformation’ plan for the removal of emergency and acute in-patient care from Monaghan General Hospital, the HSE promised that emergencies would be catered for by ‘extending and enhancing the ambulance service’. We are seeing the reality of contracting services with key elements of that same ambulance service required to cover a bigger population and a greater geographic area.

“The ultimate responsibility for all this lies with the Fianna Fáil/Green Government whose disastrous health policies have hit the people of the North East especially hard.” ENDS

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