Portlaoise hospital downgrade plan author says she is not on 'personal crusade'

Dr Susan O'Reilly speaks at length with the Leinster Express

Conor Ganly

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Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

Portlaoise hospital hse a&e laois

Dr Susan O'Reilly Dublin Midlands Hospital Group Chief Executive

The lead author of the report which will radically change Portlaoise hospital insists she is not on a crusade or the plan she worked on is not a legacy.

In an extensive interview with the Leinster Express Dr Susan O'Reilly also confirmed that she would be retiring from her post in early 2018 and a replacement has yet to been lined up. However, she insisted that there are others who will drive its implementation.

Under the plan maternity, paediatrics, emergency, most surgery and ICU would be removed.

ICU CAN CONTINUE TO SAVE LIVES

Dr O'Reilly says that other new mainly services would be introduced. She claimed that up to 70% of services would remain in Portlaoise.

She also insists that the changes are not driven by personal motives such as leaving a legacy but for safety reasons.

“Quite honestly, this has been hard and difficult. My only concern is sustainable safe treatment for all patients in all hospitals and making sure that they get the right treatment, in the right place by the right professionals who have the opportunity to maintain their skill by doing high volume services.

“I have no legacy that I need to leave here. Hopefully I have enough legacy by working in cancer services in Canada and in Ireland.

“What is really important here is that this is a plan that I chaired the process. The advice came from leaders of eight national clinical programmes and the HSE Acute Hospital Division and public health support on population and data," she said.

ANTI-DOWNGRADE PROTEST IN PORTLAOISE

Dr O'Reilly insisted that she was pursuing something personal.

“I think it needs to be said that  this isn’t Susan O’Reilly’s plan or even a personal crusade. This was me bringing together teams to do a thoughtful analysis of what would be the best way to address very complex issues.

SAFE BUT UNSUSTAINABLE - DR REILLY

“I have delivered on that mandate and I am very happy to be retiring in January and looking back on a career in medicine that I have enjoyed and I am hoping that the work that the Dublin Midlands Hospital Group has done and that this hospital does and other hospitals in the group do will flourish.

“I hope that other resources will flow, capital in particular to expand capacity. So for me, on one hand I love driving good change, but on the other hand you can’t do it forever and you get to an age and a stage where personal interests intervene," she said.

She said she was not aware if a replacement chief executive has been lined up.

DR O'REILLY READY TO MEET PUBLIC

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