The members of the Portlaoise Municipal District have thrown their weight behind the plan drawn up by local GPS for the Midlands Hospital, which was described as a matter of life and death that was the most important issue facing the county.
At County Hall recently, Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley proposed a motion calling on the council to write to the Minister for Health Simon Harris, urging him to take on board the plan that has been set out by the Laois GPs and the senior medical staff for services at Portlaoise Hospital.
“It’s the most important issue facing us in Laois, 24 hour A+E needs to be retained,” she said.
She described the plan, signed by 69 GPs, as being “positive, practical and professional” and said this was a matter of life and death.
Cllr Noel Tuohy said that the 69 signatories knew more about medicine than the Minister for Health and he called on Deputies Charlie Flanagan and Brian Stanley and Minister Charlie Flanagan to save the hospital.
Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald said that the recent sending of prisoners to Tullamore for treatment was very worrying, as it appeared to be a deliberate attempt to remove numbers from the local hospital.
Cllr Jerry Lodge, who said he’d had “a vacation” in Portlaoise hospital recently, described the services at the hospital as first class. However, he said what was happening in Portlaoise was very sinister, with no new consultants coming to the area as there was a question mark hanging over the hospital.
“There’s an attempt at the higher level to undermine the hospital,” said Cllr Lodge, adding that the future of the hospital would be a political one.
Cllr Willie Aird said that the local GPs obviously could see “something coming down the tracks”.
“The person responsible is the Minister for Health, the buck stops with him,” he said, adding that: “We went through hell and back with the hospitals in Abbeyleix and Shaen.”
It was agreed to issue a letter to the Minister on the subject.