the management of Portlaoise Hospital are looking at way to make up a deficit of around €1million, according to a Portlaoise Town Councillor.
Sinn Fein councillor, Alan Hand, who was among a number of members of Portlaoise Town Council to attend a meeting of councillors and representatives from the HSE, said that the management were looking at different ways to curtail spending to ensure the hospital remains open.
“They told us there was a deficit in their budget of around €1million, and they were looking at ways to curtail their spending. They are looking at all their supplies and tenders to see if there are ways to make saving to keep it open,” Cllr Hand said.
Keeping the Accident and Emergency Department of the hospital open was also top of the agenda at the meeting, which was attended by hospital manager, Jackie McNulty and James Conway, assistant national director.
“They said that from the figures of people using the A&E in Portlaoise, there should be no problem retaining it,” Cllr Alan Hand told the Leinster Express, after the meeting.
“Even the A&E in Naas is not used as much or other hospitals in the region, so it is self justifying,” the Sinn Fein councillor said.
Cllr Hand described the meeting as “very reassuring” and “well worth having.”
“It opened up a channel of communication between us, that wasn’t there before. Councillors were only hearing things in the media.”
The Portlaoise Town Councillor said the HSE had agreed to meet with the councillors twice yearly from now on.
Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald said that the hospital representatives “couldn’t give any guarantee” about the future of services at the hospital,
“I asked about the maternity unit, because there has been a huge increase in the births to staff ratio. They said they are doing their best, but can’t take on any more nurses because of the moratorium.”
But she said it was good to have the meeting with the HSE and that they had agreed to meet in the event of future crises.
Chairperson of the Portlaoise Hospital Action Committee, Cllr Kathleen O’Brien said she was happy with the meeting.
“Everything remains the same and we will keep in contact. The councillors were happy and their questions were answered.”