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28 May 2022

Statement demanded on Portlaoise A&E's future as thousands continue to present for care

Statement demanded on Portlaoise A&E's  future as thousands continue to present for care

Laois children were among the thousands who march for Portlaoise hospital when the last big demo took place in November 2017 as the HSE attempted downgrade

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly must make a statement on the future of Portlaoise hospital's Emergency Department (ED / A&E) according to a public representative who insists its future remains uncertain despite the fact that thousands of patients continuing to attend the Laois hospital

Local Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley has highlighted the need for certainty on Portlaoise Emergency Department (ED) as he also revealed figures which show that while attendances have declined, thousands continue to seek urgent care at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise.

“This is needed now more than ever,’’ said Deputy Stanley.

“Figures I obtained in reply to a Parliamentary Question show that in 2018 the total of 36,271 people attended the ED Department. In 2019 this increased to 39,513 and in 2020 and despite the fact that people were being diverted from attending hospitals 30,423 attended. In the first 4 months of this year 9,586 have presented. The figures for attendances underline the need for 24/7 care and for full ED services to be retained in the hospital. The increasing population in the county also needs to be factored in," he said.

He added that a commitment is overdue. Clarity was promised after a downgrade of the hospital was put on ice after thousands marched on the streets of Portlaoise in 2017 to protest against the planned closure of A&E, ICU, maternity, paediatrics and most surgery at the hospital 

“It is now almost four years since the three Laois TD’s met with the Chief Medical Officer and the Minister for Health to make the case for the retention of 24/7 ED services in Portlaoise hospital to continue. It is way past time for clarification on this, which was promised by Minister Harris.

"It is now time for the current Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to make a statement and confirm that 24/7 care will continue at the ED Department in Portlaoise Hospital. The people of Laois and surrounding areas have been left in limbo for long enough regarding this issue. It is now time for certainty," he said.

Substantial funding was recently confirmed for the hospital, something that the poll-topping Laois Offaly TD welcomed.

“I welcome the good news of funding for the Respiratory Unit at the Hospital and also the funding for St. Vincent’s Hospital, Mountmellick, The Health Centre in Mountrath, and St. Fintan’s Hospital Portlaoise. This extra space in Portlaoise Hospital is badly needed. I raised the need for funding the Respiratory Assessment Unit in Portlaoise Hospital on a number of occasions with the Government.’’

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