Laois family doctors look forward to meeting health minister

GPs say Minister Simon Harris should consider implementing plan that links Portlaoise closely with other hospitals

By Conor Ganly

Reporter:

By Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

Health Minister meeting TDs and Councillors in Portlaoise on hospital issue

Minister Simon Harris at the meeting in Portlaoise this morning

Laois GPs are looking forward to discussing a plan for Portlaoise hospital drawn up by local doctors with the Minister for Health Simon Harris.

The family doctors welcomed Minister Harris' visit Portlaoise hospital this week. He also met local politicians and TDs. They also look foward to taking up his offer to meet them.  So far, neither the Health Service Executive or Dublin Midlands Hospital Group (DMHG) has held consultations with family doctors on the future of the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise.

During his visit to Portlaoise this week Minister Harris said he would meet GPs and discuss a model of care they have submitted to both the HSE, the DMHG and his Department.

The doctors propose that the model used in overhauling maternity services in Portlaoise be the template for the rest of the hospital. Under the maternity reform Portlaoise is integrated with the Coombe hospital in Dublin.  GPs believe other hospitals in the Dublin Midlands network could copy this to ensure services are maintained in Portlaoise. They say it should be replicated around the country.

"We are glad that the Minister has had the opportunity to visit MRH Portlaoise and look forward to meeting with him to discuss our report, which given the recent capacity crisis in our local emergency departments and hospitals provides a viable sustainable future for services at MRH Portlaoise.

"Indeed, we believe that our report provides a template to secure sustainable services nationally. We are disappointed that we have had no feedback regarding our report from either the Department of Health or management of the DMHG. We urge the Minister to engage proactively with all concerned to provide clarity regarding the future of the hospital," said the doctors.

Minister Harris met staff at the hospital and politicians in Portlaoise on Monday, January 9. He said the HSE's plan for the hospital will not be the only factor he considers when deciding on a future role for the hospital.

Minister Harris admitted that other hospitals are not equipped to cope if Portlaoise's A&E closes.