Laois public is being 'hoodwinked' on Portlaoise hospital says TD

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Portlaoise hospital

Portlaoise hospital

New figures show that 68 people over 75 years of age had to wait for more than 24 hours on a trolley or a chair from January to September this year in Portlaoise Emergency Department.

Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley from Laois says the figures show that the ED continues to be "a very busy unit".

He is calling for the consultation process on Portlaoise hospital, promised a year ago by Minister for Health Simon Harris when he came to Laois to tour the hospital and meet Laois TDs and councillors.

Dep Brian Stanley says the delay is a "hoodwink" to get the government behond the next general election.

He got a Dáil reply which he says "would indicate that the Government are cynically using the promised consultation process on Portlaoise Hospital to drag the issue to get beyond the next general election and hoodwinked the people of Laois".

"It’s now one year since myself and the other two TDs from Laois met with Minister Harris regarding the uncertainty  of Portlaoise Hospital. At that meeting he committed to stalling Dr Susan O’Reilly’s plans to close the Emergency Department (ED) and to put in place a consultation process on the future of services in the hospital. While I welcomed at the time I did state that this should not be used as a delaying tactic," Dep Stanley said.

"This reply I received this week from the Minister shows that there has been no progress whatsoever made to even have the consultation process started. In his reply Minister Harris said 'I attend to appoint an independent external facilitator for the consultation process in the coming weeks. The outcome of the consultant process will be a submission from my Department, setting out the key findings from the consultation process will be a submission from my Department, setting out the key findings and recommended response to inform me in making a final decision on the Draft Action Plan’. 

"One  year on this reply from the Minister is very disappointing," Dep Stanley said.

It comes just one week after Laois GPs stated  “It is extremely disappointing that the Minister for Health has not provided any clarity around the future of the services of the hospital” and expressed their concerns about the “ongoing difficulties this is causing about the recruitment and retention of staff’’.

Dep Stanley urged action to give confidence in the future of the Laois hospital.

"The lack of action or any movement by Government in the past 12 months on this clearly points to the fact that they are continuing to bounce the issue about the future of Portlaoise Hospital from one election cycle to the next and this must end" he said.