The plan to downgrade Portlaoise hospital is not safe, credible or fair a Laois GP told the anti-downgrade Light for Lives protest in Portlaoise.
Dr Michelle Byrne spoke on behalf of family doctors and Laois and elsewhere that refer their patients to the Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise.
The GPs have joined with hospital consultants in opposing the extensive reconfiguration plan drawn up by Dublin Midlands Hospital Group CEO, Dr Susan O'Reilly.
"As citizens of the State, we are entitled to timely, accessible, equitable care that is nationally consistent with other parts of the country. The proposed plan will not facilitate this entitlement.
"It is neither safe nor credible and must be rejected. If it's not I expect we’ll be having a public enquiry into the downgrade of our hospital in 20 years time," she said.
She also warned about the risk it poses for pregnant women.
"Pregnant women are expected to travel to the Coombe Hospital in Dublin until that is relocated to St. James. We have all travelled the M7 and know the gridlock that is a daily occurrence.
"Childbirth is one of the most dangerous journey’s we take in our lives. What is proposed will make an already difficult journey into life more hazardous - babies will be born at the side of the M7, Mums will have complications and unfortunately, the consequences will be grave," she said.