Portlaoise hospital action committee insulted by consultation offer

Conor Ganly

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Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

portlaoise a&e hospital

Portlaoise Hospital Action Committee brings campaign to four corners of Laois.

The Portlaoise Hospital Action Committee says it is outraged and insulted that the lead author of the plan to downgrade Portlaoise hospital is now willing to engage with the public.

Dr Susan O'Reilly, Dublin Midlands Hospital Group, told the Leinster Express said she was willing to meet with the committee and public on the plan before it is cleared by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris. She said she would need the Minister's go-ahead to engage.

But the committee, which has called a public protest against the downgrade, rejected this.

"We must express our outrage over the comments made by Dr Susan O’Reilly in the past two days. We perceive her attempts to portray herself as open and engaging as contrary to what professionals, politicians and indeed the public have witnessed to date," said the statement.

John Hanniffy is Action Committee secretary. 

"Dr O'Reilly has made zero attempts to communicate with our committee since the report was leaked many weeks ago. Despite the raging response of the committee and the public, she has remained disconnected from the people; people whose lives she is proposing to put at risk and people whose career trajectories she is planning to derail. The response on the streets of Laois and further afield has been truly deafening. The public is utterly incensed,”  he said.

The statement said the committee was dumbfounded by the that Dr O’Reilly claims that the DMHG wanted to consult with elected politicians or the public but that they were not permitted to do so by the Department of Heath.

They said they could not fathom that the Department of Health would prevent the DMHG from engaging with the public and the professionals those in the ‘real world’ affected by the outcomes of the leaked report.

The committee added that it would be hard to believe that the Department of Health and the Minister for Health, Simon Harris
would disregard the need for or block the democratic process of consultation, a process which is necessary to ensure transparency, consistency and equitable report generation.

The Action Committee PRO Eimear Holland reacted angrily to Dr O’Reilly's offer.

“How on earth could the principal investigator of a report, which is intended to ‘decide on policy’, as O’Reilly put it, not make it very clear in the leaked report that the findings were subject to major limitations? Even if her hands were tied by the Department of Health, as she claims, it is still her ethical and professional responsibility to highlight the validity, reliability and generalisability failings of the report. To do anything less than provide transparency is misleading and negligible!”

The statement said that Dr O’Reilly is not taking responsibility for her lack of due process and is attempting to shift blame onto the Department of Health. 

The committee called on Simon Harris (TD) to respond.

The committee refuted what it says was Dr O’Reilly’s claim that health management has learned from past mistakes regarding reconfiguration. The said Dr O’Reilly has already made the same mistakes because they believe the plan fails to provide access to equitable and consistent health care.

They said Dr O'Reilly has failed to listen to the outrage by medical professionals and the public over a lack of consultation in the Roscommon catchment; in the Monaghan catchment.

The committee also rejected Dr O'Reilly's willingness to engage in consultation at this stage. They said there is no time left to consult with the public. The committee believes that once a report is completed and submitted, any consultation does not inform the report from the bottom up.

The statement said the committee does not accept the plan nor do the medical professional within the MRHP. She said politicians do not accept it and most importantly the public rejects it.

The committee says it it is insulted that Dr O’Reilly would think otherwise.