Cllr David Grant has expressed alarm at the Government’s planned closure of the Accident and Emergency Department St Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown and the decision to cease acute surgical procedures there from the end of the year.
“The news today, Wednesday 15 June 2011, is absolutely shocking and unbelievable that the Accident and Emergency division of St Columcille’s Hospital is to close and be replaced by a day time minor injury clinic.
The removal of this important public service on the door step of the town and county has caused a lot of worry among residents in the short few hours since the news was announced.
It is unthinkable that the emergency service that has served the area so well and for so long is to be closed and replaced with a token service that will provide no more care than putting plasters on cuts,” said Cllr Grant.
“The announcement today also highlights the absence of a clear plan for an alternative Accident and Emergency service, with no date being provided for the planned transfer of services to St Vincent’s nor confirmation that the Dublin hospital will be provided with the resources necessary to cater for the thousands of visits that St Columcille’s received every year.
Along with the decision to cease acute surgical procedures at the hospital from the end of the year, these policies call into the question the future of the hospital and the level of medical care that will be accessible to residents in Bray, North Wicklow and South Dublin” Cllr Grant continued.
Cllr Grant stated that was is most astounding about this development is the way that Wicklow’s TDs have allowed this to happen.  In successive elections Fine Gael and Labour have falsely played the ‘hospital is closing’ card time after time.  In this year’s general election, Labour in Wicklow stated as their priority “the protection of vital health and social welfare services” in Fine Gael election material for the 2009 local elections they stated “we demand investment and improvement rather than downgrading and closures.”
Fine Gael and Labour TDs have been vocal in past when health services important to other communities were being closed.  Now is the time to turn their concern for public health services into action and stop the closure of St Columcille’s hospital.