Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise
It is an outrageous scandal that a endoscopy unit at Portlaoise hospital is shut when there are nearly 580,000 on hospital waiting lists, according to Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley
Following a Dáil question to Minister for Health Simon Harris, the HSE has confirmed the new Endoscopy Unit in Portlaoise remains closed. The Laois TD, who represents part of Kildare, also revealed that an operating theatre in Naas General Hospital is lying idle for 15 years.
Portlaoise and Naas are part of the HSE's Dublin Midland Hospital Group.
"The scandal of this unit being closed is just one in a litany of issues in our Health Service. At a time when there are 579,891 on hospital waiting lists it is outrageous that this should be closed," responded the Laois TD.
Dep Stanley said the Endoscopy room is in place, with equipment ready, but lying idle despite the fact that there is a waiting list of over 200 people for gastrointestinal Endoscopy procedures in Portlaoise.
"The doors of this unit are closed simply because of a lack of staff. This is appalling and needs to be addressed immediately," he said.
Dep Stanley said the HSE state that the staffing of this Endoscopy Room is included in the estimates for 2018 and forms part f service planning discussions for next year.
“This is very disappointing and obviously the fact that it simply forms part of the planning discussions for 2018 offers no guarantee that it will open next year either." he said.
The TD said the staffing issue for endoscopy is just one of a number affecting Portlaoise Hospital. He claimed there has not been an eye specialist in place since last November. He said he has submitted a question to the Minister on this "dreadful situation".
"No progress is going to be made on tackling the massive waiting lists at our hospitals until gaps in services like these are filled. Promises by the Minister and Government Spokespersons, that they are working to reduce waiting lists rings hollow. The HSE now need to put in place the people needed to staff these units in Portlaoise Hospital,” said the Laois TD.
In relation ton Naas, the TD said the HSE has confirmed that an operating theatre in Naas General Hospital is not in use due to 'staffing and funding deficits'. The unit has not been commissioned since it was opened in 2002.
Sinn Féin asked the Minister for Health for details on closed units earlier this year. He declined to answer referred the question to the HSE.