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Plan to close Portlaoise A&E threatens existence of hospital - Ó Caoláin

3 June, 2015 - by Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has expressed great concern at plans to reduce emergency department hours at the Midland Regional Hospital, Portlaoise to an 8am to 8pm service and also the transfer of all complex surgery to other hospitals. The changes come after a highly critical HIQA report on the safety of services at the hospital.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said;

“While various HIQA reports have raised concerns, the loss of services is certainly not the answer. Indeed it could yet prove to be the slippery slope that leads to the removal of other services from Portlaoise and a significant downgrading of the hospital.

“In a statement, the HSE have said that complex surgery will be moved to St. James's Hospital in Dublin or to the Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore. They have also said that this was decided on "as the volumes are too low to maintain the requisite expertise of clinical staff."

 “There are real concerns that the Emergency Department could yet be further downgraded, increasing the chances that other services will be whittled away in turn.

“We know from last month's HIQA report that the hospital was not properly governed, resourced or adequately equipped to provide the services of a model three facility. The solution to this problem is ensuring that it is adequately equipped and that proper governance procedures are put in place, not the downgrading of the hospital or the removal of key services. If these changes proceed, I have no doubt but that they will be replicated at other hospital sites across the country” concluded Deputy Ó Caoláin.

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