Dep Brian Stanley with Sinn Féin colleagues hand anti-downgrade petition signed by 4,000 to HSE in Naas
Nearly 40,000 Portlaoise hospital patients would have to attend hospitals in Dublin in Offaly because Naas hospital is also facing A&E bypass under a health service plan for Dublin and Midlands hospitals, according to a leaked copy of the plan obtained by Laois TD Brian Stanley.
The Sinn Féin TD has released more contents for the Strategic Plan for hospital services in Laois, Offaly, Kildare and Dublin. The Dublin Midlands Hospital Group have both national and regional remits. The group includes: Portlaoise, Tallaght, Tullamore, St James.
Dep Stanley has obtained a copy of the report which the HSE, DMHG and Minister for Health have refused to make public. Already revealed is the plan to downgrade the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise. This would see an end to 24/7 A&E (ED) emergency care in Laois but also Kildare.
But the Laois TD, who also represents a part of Kildare, said it will have wider impact.
"What is of even greater concern is that the plan prioritises “an ambulance by-pass for trauma patients will be implemented at Naas General Hospital”. Does the HSE and the Government really believe that it will be ok to have no emergency department between Tallaght and Limerick?
“The number of emergency presentations at Portlaoise continues to increase with a total of 39,282 last year. This is far greater than most other regional hospitals including Naas and Tullamore," he said.
Dep Stanley said he has raised the status of the plan last week with the Minister for Health Simon Harris. The Minister replied that they have been “working for some time on a draft plan for a new model of clinical service delivery at Portlaoise hospital which takes account of the need to develop services at Portlaoise in the context of developing the new model of service provision for the entire Hospital Group”
The Minister, who has the final say on Portlaoise, also stated that the plan is “being reviewed in detail” by his department.
"This is simply play acting as it was to be published in September 2015 and has been on the Ministers desk for a year," said Dep Stanley.
The TD called for Portlaoise 24 hour ED must be retained, given our position on the road and rail networks, the two large prisons adjacent and the rapidly expanding population of the county and the catchment areas it serves in Kildare and Offaly.