THE ongoing uncertainty over Portlaoise hospital’s future “must be brought to an immediate end by the minister publicly saying he rejects the plan on his desk”.
So demanded Laois TD Seán Fleming, who called on health minister Simon Harris to “immediately cancel and withdraw the proposals on his desk for the total downgrade of the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise.
“The minister has a report on his desk since September 2017, which recommends the closure of the emergency, maternity, paediatric and intensive care departments and all in-patient surgery in the hospital.
The minister promised consultation on this plan over a year ago and this has not yet commenced.”
The Fianna Fáil TD added: “More worryingly, I understand the people who helped prepare the report will have a veto after the consultation process.
“The plan involved expenditure of €140 million to upgrade Tallaght, the Coombe maternity and Tullamore hospitals to take over the workload currently being carried out in Portlaoise.”
The Castletown-based deputy said: “It is now absolutely clear that no money will ever be available for these specific upgrades as a result of the minister’s incompetence in blowing the budget for the new national children’s hospital in Dublin by over €1 billion.
“Clearly, the plan on the minister’s desk can now never be implemented. In any event, it should never have been contemplated in the first place. The ongoing uncertainty in respect of the hospital in Portlaoise must be brought to an immediate end by the minister publicly saying he rejects the plan on his desk and calls on regional management to bring forward proposals to improve services in the hospital in Portlaoise.”