Hospital suffers from cancer crisis

PORTLAOISE hospital is on the HSE’s shortlist for downgrade because of the crisis caused by underinvestment in breast cancer screening, according to Brian Stanley TD.

PORTLAOISE hospital is on the HSE’s shortlist for downgrade because of the crisis caused by underinvestment in breast cancer screening, according to Brian Stanley TD.

As a result the Sinn Fein TD has called on the Health Service Executive to withdraw the Portlaoise hospital from the list of 10 hospitals where shortcomings have been identified.

The hospital was at the centre of a national controversy over the misdiagnosis of a number of women with breast cancer. Outdated equipment was later blamed.

“It is now vital for Portlaoise hospital to be removed from the so-called HIQA 10 list. On the information available it appears the hospital is on this list because of the cases of breast cancer misdiagnosis due to faulty equipment. As this service was discontinued a number of years ago in Portlaoise the hospital should be removed from this HIQA 10 list immediately,” he said.

Dep Stanley, welcomed the recent statement from Health Minister, James Reilly, who said that the National Acute Medicine Programme 2010 was not part of Government policy and that there are no plans to designate Portlaoise Hospital as a Model 2 mentioned in the Programme.

“If the Model 2 Option is ruled out the Minister now needs to inform us what their alternative plans are for the future of the hospital,” he said.

Dep Stanley was concerned after recent discussions with hospital staff where he discovered major reductions in staffing levels at weekends and, with on-going budgetary difficulties, the future of the hospital seems very unclear.

He also called for a 24 hour CAT Scan equipment to be provided and for a new maternity unit to be prioritised with the €8 million which was ring fenced for the project.