Portlaoise hospital protest in 2011. Pic Denis Byrne
The proposed downgrade of Portlaoise's hospital is another example of the 'crisis' in the health services that continues to be 'dysfunctional', according to Laois Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley.
The TD urged the people of Laois and surrounding counties to attend a Public Meeting next week in the Parish Centre Portlaoise to discuss the future of Portlaoise Hospital and investment in the Health Services.
Speakers at the meeting are Louise O’Reilly TD, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Health, Joe Hoolan, Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) and local TD Brian Stanley.
Speaking ahead of the meeting Brian Stanley said action is needed.
“Our health system is in crisis and urgently needs reform. While front line staff do their very best, the inefficient two tier system continues to be dysfunctional.
"Over 680,000 people are on waiting lists for hospital services. The chaos and delays in emergency departments also continue and is putting lives at risk. This is despite the fact that we have one of the best funded health systems in the world," he said.
Dep Stanley said Portlaoise Hospital continues to face an uncertain future. He said the “Final Draft” of a leaked plan drawn up by HSE management includes downgrading 24 hour Emergency Department Services to a “Medical Assessment Unit” and daytime “Local Injuries Unit”.
"This cannot be accepted and must be stopped in its tracks by Government and the Minister for Health who has to approve any such downgrade. On average 40,000 people make emergency presentations to Portlaoise Hospital each year. Our hospital needs expansion and upgrade not the removal of essential services
"This uncertainty on the future of Portlaoise Hospital has been ongoing for years and the people of Laois have had enough false promises and procrastination. People have also had enough of the chaotic two tier health system.
"We believe this can be fixed, but only if we demand it. Other countries which are not as wealthy as Ireland have excellent health services," he said.
Dep Stanley urged people to come along on Thursday, November 9 and add their voice to those demanding change.