the HSE have refused to reveal any details on the consultation process on the future of care of the elderly in the Midlands, which is due to start this week.
Late last month, they issued one line statement announcing that they would commence consultation on the planning and provision of services for older people in Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath on the week of May 8. The executive also said it would provide more details “prior to” the the process getting underway.
However, when contacted on Tuesday morning, a spokesperson for the HSE said that “full details will be announced as soon as it commences, which we expect will be before the end of this week.”
The HSE declined to comment on who they were consulting with, how long the process would take or the nature of the consulations.
Spokesperson for the Abbeyleix Hospital Action Group, Gary O’Keeffe, said they had no contact with the HSE since March 1.
“We have had zero contact from the HSE. We had a vague conversation with them on March 1 and they haven’t contacted us since. But we are not going to sit around and wait for them, this is way too important,” Mr O’Keeffe said.
The Action Committee PRO said they had gone to “extraordinary lengths” to make sure that the consultation process would be meaningful.
“We are in planning mode and we have gone to extraordinary lengths. We have engaged with planners and architects to see what could be done. We have been in contact with consultants to see what is the best possible healthcare for the elderly and we are also in contact with the families of the residents to see what to they want.
“We were expecting to hear from the HSE today, but if we don’t we will be on the phone tomorrow morning to them,” Mr O’Keefe added.
Over 3,000 people from all over Laois turned out in force in Abbeyleix recently for a second protest march against the proposed closure of the hospital.