Mixed signals have emerged over how much consideration will be given to a plan from Laois doctors to retain services at Portlaoise hospital.
Both the Dublin Midland Hospital Group (DMHG) and Department of Health responded to proposals from the consultants and GPs which would see the A&E retained.
While the DMHG said it would carefully consider what the doctors think should happen, the Department held the line that consultation with local medics would take place after a plan for the hospital is finalised.
The DMHG has already produced a draft plan authored by its CEO, Dr Susan O'Reilly. It confirmed to the Leinster Express that it received the recent submission on services at Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise.
“We are currently reviewing these proposals and will give them careful consideration as part of the overall long-term strategy for the development of the hospital.
“We look forward to engaging with local GPs and all relevant stakeholders on this issue,” it said.
The Minister for Health Simon Harris has the final say on Portlaoise's future.
Responding to the doctors' proposals his department confirmed that the Group had has been working for some time on the development of a draft plan for clinical service delivery at Portlaoise Hospital and has produced a draft plan which was discussed with his Department in May.
“ Further work and consideration is currently ongoing with the HSE prior to any final decision on the future design of service provision at the hospital. It is intended that the Hospital Group will engage closely with all interested parties,including local GPs, to ensure that the needs of patients, staff, the local and wider community are addressed.
“Any changes, once approved, will be carried out in a planned and consultative manner and provide for high-quality sustainable care at the hospital and will take account of the need to develop particular services at Portlaoise in the context of overall service reconfiguration in the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group.
“The Minister believes GPs and consultants have a vital role to play and hopes they will engage in this consultative process,” said the statement.
No timeframe has been put on the publication of the roadmap for Portlaoise's future. It was not discussed at last week's Dublin Midlands Health Forum meeting which includes Laois councillors.