Laois GPs opt for face-to-face crunch talks with Minister Harris to make the case for Portlaoise hospital

Family doctors decide against meeting with HSE hospital manager in the absence of plan and other details on Portlaoise hospital

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

The hospital in Portlaoise.

Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise

Family doctors in Laois have turned down a meeting the HSE manager who is planning big changes for Portlaoise hospital and instead opted to hold their discussions with the man who will decide on its future - Minster Simon Harris.

The GPs were due to meet Dr Susan O'Reilly, Dublin Midlands Hospital Group chief executive, this week but decided to against talks with her until after meeting Minister Harris.

The doctors felt there is little point in meeting Dr O'Reilly with clarity on the hospital's future. Among the issues they have is the proposed medical assessment unit and whether it would be supported by functioning 24/7 Emergency Department (ED/A&E). The also want to know what improved diagnostics have been put in place to support this. 

Cruciallly, they felt they would not be able to have a meaningful meeting with Dr Reilly in the absence the plan which Dr O'Reilly has authored for the Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise.

The contents of the plan have been a closely guarded secret. There was no consultation with the public on its proposals and little consultation with doctors and nurses. Dr O'Reilly has consistently maintained that consultation will take on its implementations. 

Dr O'Reilly's plan was initially rejected by the Department of Health but the Leinster Express understands that deliberations between the HSE and Department of Health on the hospital's future through a revised plan are complete  and the recommendations. 

It is understood that consultants at the hospital have been asked to attend this week's meeting with Dr O'Reilly. 

Minister Harris is due to meet the family doctors at the end of March. A delegation of doctors in Laois met Fianna Fáil's health spokesperson Billy Kelleher last month.