'No plans' to end prisoners being treated at Portlaoise hospital claims health management

'No plans' to end prisoners being treated at Portlaoise hospital claims health management
By Conor Ganly

Health service authorities have said there are no plans to end care for prisoners at Portlaoise hospitaldespite confirming that a multi-agency meeting has taken place in Tullamore in relation to prisoner treatment at the Offaly hospital.

In a statement the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group played down fears that the meeting was part of the plan to downgrade the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise.

Portlaoise hospital is located across the road from the Portlaoise prison complex which houses about 1,000 prisoners. It is Ireland's biggest prison complex. Portlaoise Prison house some of the countrys most dangerous criminals.

There are fears that the meeting was held to organised to draw up new protocols for Tullamore ahead of it assuming Portlaoise hospital's role in treating prisoners.

“Prisoners from Midlands Prison Portlaoise are treated at both Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise (MRHP) and Midlands Regional Hospital Tullamore (MRHT) depending on their particular condition or treatment requirement. There are no plans to change this approach.

“MRHT can confirm that a meeting took place last week between hospital management and officials from the Midlands Prison Portlaoise and Irish Prison Service last week. MRHT have developed a local policy to manage safe and effective care for outpatients serving a custodial sentence.

“Items discussed at the meeting included a routine review of security arrangements in respect of prisoners accessing services at MRHT,” said the statement.

A spokesperson said the meetings on prisoner care were regular and it was a routine meeting. No details were provided on how often such meetings take place. The agenda for the meeting was not provided.

Both Portlaoise and Tullamore are managed by the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group.

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