03 Jul 2022

Laois people face long trips to Tullamore as hearing service relocated to Offaly

Fear that it will not return

sinn Féin audiology

People seen at St Fintans where there is a long waiting list as things stand

Hearing services are set to be moved out of Portlaoise for up to two years according Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley who says the move to Tullamore will have an impact especially on the elderly.

The TD said audiology services is expected to move from St Fintan’s in Portlaoise to Tullamore Hospital in early June for a period between six months to two years while the building is being renovated.

"While I very much welcome the renovation works to this building at St. Fintan’s but the HSE should have provided another premises in Co Laois while these works are ongoing. The audiology service is located in one room and that is what’s required," he said.

The Laois Offaly TD said some people face long journeys.

"It is mainly elderly people who use this service, and they will now have to travel from places as far away as Vicarstown, Graiguecullen, Errill and Cullohill to name a few. Some patients will have a round trip of 100 miles. The only income many of these people have is their old age pension.

"As there is no public transport available in these rural areas these people will have to get a taxi or pay a neighbour to get there. Some constituents have already complained to me about the difficulties this will cause," he said.

Dep Stanley also highlighted delays in being seen.

"Currently there is a waiting time of two years to receive an appointment in Laois,  as there is only one part-time Audiologist for the county. Laois is expanding with a population of 85,000 people.

"Also, there is a fear that once the audiology service is located in Tullamore it may not return to Laois. This is a worry for the people in Laois as there are more and more services being taken from the county," he said.

The TD added that he has written to both the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD and the Chief Officer in the HSE to express his concerns about the move. He said he has also sought a guarantee that the service will return once the facilities in St Fintans have been completed.

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