Many people requiring physiotherapy in Laois are going to have a much reduced service, and also the service has been withdrawn from many areas in the county, a Laois TD has calimed.
Sean Fleming TD says he is angered with the ending of physiotherapy services in Graiguecullen.
“I raised the matter with the Minister for Health and the HSE has come back and informed me that the services that were available in the Graiguecullen Health Centre are now being transferred to the Community Nursing Unit in Abbeyleix.
“Many people who use the service in Graiguecullen will now have to make a round trip of over 40 miles to Abbeyleix and back to avail of this service in the future. Many of these people are elderly and this will cause major upheaval for them.
“In addition to this, the HSE has also confirmed that there has been over a 50% reduction in physiotherapy staff available in Portarlington. Last year there were 2.1 full-time staff in Portarlington for physiotherapy services and this has been reduced to just one person in 2017.
“We are now seeing a major reduction in services in the Portarlington and Graiguecullen areas which have large catchment areas for patients,” he said.
The Fianna Fáil TD said the Health Service Executive talk about consolidating services and their wish to recruit new staff.
“I am fearful that once the HSE remove and curtail the services in Graiguecullen and Portarlington that we will never see them restored to the area again.
“I am calling on the HSE to seek approval for the additional staff that are required in this area and that they are recruited as urgently as possible,” said the TD.
In a letter to the TD in relation to patients in Graiguecullen/ east Laois, the HSE said that “due to a reduction in staffing resources” over the past year, cross cover was provided from other primary care teams. It said this was not sustainable. It said to provide equal access to physiotherapy services for priority 1 referrals, it was decided to consolidated outpatient services as a short term solution in Abbeyleix.
“Please be assured that this is an interim solution we will continue to monitor Laois physiotherapy service pending availability for resources cognisant in the provision of an equitable service in locations of proximity to clients home address,” he said.
In relation to Portarlington the TD was told that the HSE endeavours to provided highest quality services within available resources and that it is committed to filling vacant posts.