The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, today expressed serious concern at reports that Portlaoise is among nine hospitals to have their Emergency Departments scaled back.
A leaked report to the Sunday Business Post said to be from the Trauma Steering Group suggests that serious trauma cases involving car crash victims and patients with broken bones, would instead be sent to the nearest major hospital where there are more specialist doctors in place.
The Midlands Regional Hospital in Portlaoise is already under threat from reconfiguration proposed by the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group which could see its A&E close.
David Hughes, Deputy General Secretary of the INMO said such a move would worsen the situation for patients and staff.
“Nurses are fed up with piece meal change which actually makes the situation worse rather than better. This is not the first time that the redirecting of Emergency Departments to separate major trauma centres has been proposed and, in fact, it has been attempted in the Mid-West with a scaling back of Nenagh and Ennis, in the West through the reduction in services provided at Roscommon, in Tipperary with the concentration of services in Clonmel Regional Hospital, in the North East in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and in South Dublin in St Vincent’s Hospital. In all of these cases the so called Centres of Excellence have been reduced to chaos when the major hospitals with few additional resources are expected to take the serious trauma, previously destined for other hospitals, on an already overcrowded and overworked department”.
The INMO say that the rationalisation of hospital services, in the absence of a comprehensive multi annual plan which would develop primary care and alternatives to hospital admission, along with the development of real Centres of Excellence as an alternative way to deliver emergency care have neither been funded or developed.
“The Mid Western Regional Hospital at Dooradoyle in Limerick, Galway University Hospital, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda, South Tipperary General Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital in South Dublin are all now perpetually overcrowded and many are in full capacity due to such meddling and piece meal changes. The INMO have called for a ten-year all party agreed health plan, which can be bought into by all stakeholders and provide for the provision of a comprehensive vision for delivery of healthcare for our expanding population and developing nation.
“We must learn from the errors of the past and there is no realistic prospect of the type of thinking behind these proposals being implemented in the short or medium term, even if they are valid.
“We now call on the government to make a clear statement that the existing Emergency Departments are not threatened by this report and that there will be no repeat of the disastrous consequences already evident in Limerick, Galway, Drogheda, South Dublin and South Tipperary” concluded David Hughes, Deputy General Secretary.
Portlaoise hospital is already under threat from reconfiguration proposed by the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group which could see its A&E close.