Following months of speculation, the Health Service Executive has now confirmed that they have no plans to downgrade Portlaoise Hospital.
Earlier this summer, the Minister of Health, James Reilly made assuarnces that there was no threat to the future of Portlaoise Hospital. But in September, the HSE confirmed in writing to the Dáil Public Accounts Committee their plans for the re-organistion of emergency departments in hospitals throughout the country.
According to those documents, which were revealed to the Leinster Express by Sean Fleming TD, a Medical Assessment Unit for Portlaoise was “in development” meaning that the unit would be commencing development under the Acute Medicine Programme.
“The current status of Portlaoise Hospital is that it will continue to function as a Model 3 hospital as announced recently by the Minister for Health,” the HSE confirmed to the public accounts committee on October 19, in correspondence following on from issues raised when they attended the meeting in September.
Welcoming what he described as a “complete backdown,” Deputy Fleming said this was good news for everybody concerned with Portlaoise Hospital.
Deputy Fleming queried the Chief Executive of the HSE in relation to the status of Portlaoise Hospital when he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee last month.
“Our committee has today received a written response from the HSE, dated October 19 2011, on this issue and other issues raised at the PAC meeting”, stated Deputy Fleming.
“I am pleased that the confusion between the HSE and the Minister has now been put to bed. I welcome this announcement by the HSE supporting the Minister’s decision and I hope the HSE do not attempt any further ‘solo runs@ in relation to Portlaoise Hospital.”