The plan published by Laois GPs and Hospital Consultants represents a comprehensive road map to retaining services at the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise.
If one was cynical, one might suggest that this plan is the very reason why no consultation has taken place to date with either the medical profession or the public on the future of Portlaoise hosptial.
It presents a viable alternative to the kamikaze like fixation with downgrading the hospital, which seems to inform the upper echelons of health management.
The professionals who work in the system are those best placed to know and appreciate the realities of what is taking place on the ground.
It beggars belief to think that their opinion might not, indeed was not, sought on a policy which would have huge ramifications for healthcare in this entire region.
Instead, they have found themselves reduced to playing the role of Banquo's ghost at the feast, their few lines not comparable to the significance of their presence.
However, full credit must be given to them for standing up for the hospital at this critical juncture, as we wait for the full report to materialise from the phantom draft report.
This is the kind of document that Portlaoise hospital needs as it battles for its survival.
It makes its case succintly against downgrading Portlaoise.
It offers alternatives through the hospital networks and utililses the model of Portlaoise and the Coombe, in maternity, as a viable solution.
And it underlines, the real human cost and degradation of patient care that will take place if Portlaoise is downgraded.
The HSE need to listen. This is a document whose time has come.
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