Cork North West Fianna Fáil TD Michael Moynihan has said he is deeply worried about the impact on patients of savage cuts to the health services in the South this year. Reacting to details of the HSE South service plan for 2012, Deputy Moynihan has described plans to downgrade Kanturk Community Hospital and Midleton Community Hospital as a costly mistake.
Deputy Moynihan said: “Kanturk Community Hospital is an excellent facility that plays a crucial role in our local health services. Shutting down 8 beds at this 48 bed facility this year will have a ripple effect right across healthcare provision in this region. It is an extremely short-sighted move that will end up costing our health services more in the long-run.
“Reducing capacity at Kanturk Hospital will push elderly patients into the acute hospital system, which is already under severe pressure. The Health Minister James Reilly has approved plans to cut the budget at Cork University Hospital by 7%, shutting 35 surgical beds and downgrading a further 35 beds from 7 day to 5 day. So we will now have a situation where services at CUH are cut significantly, while even more patients are in need of beds because community hospitals are being downgraded.
“It isn’t difficult to see that patients will be the losers in this. People are genuinely worried that this is the thin end of the wedge for Kanturk Hospital. There is a real fear that the downgrading we will see over the next few months is the beginning of moves to wind down the facility. Since Minister Reilly came into power, he has pursued an agenda of closing community hospital beds around the country and earmarking some facilities for outright closure. This plan will see up to 898 community hospital beds nationwide closing this year.
“I am appealing to Minister Reilly to see the bigger picture here. The combination of downgrading community hospitals while closing beds at acute hospitals will cause chaos in our local health services,” said Deputy Moynihan.