Fianna Fáil TD for Laois Sean Fleming has called on Minister for Health Simon Harris to reverse proposals for the downgrading of the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise.
Deputy Fleming said, “The HSE is examining a proposal to reduce services provided at Portlaoise Hospital. It’s a dangerous plan which would mean a full accident and emergency service would not be available at the hospital into the future. This in turn would mean the hospital would not have a proper pediatric or maternity unit because such units require the presence of a full time Emergency Department.
“The Emergency Department in Portlaoise Hospital is one of the busiest outside the major cities in this country. Up to 35,000 people attend it every year. People who need urgent treatment might not be able to make the journey to Dublin should the unit in Portlaoise close. This will undoubtedly put lives at risk.
“Patient safety must come first. Everybody knows that the Emergency Department unit in Portlaoise Hospital is overcrowded and that additional staff are required to deal with the situation. The HSE’s approach, which involves trying to curtail services rather than upgrading them, is a dangerous one.
“This week in the Dáil I’ve called on Minister Harris to instruct the HSE to throw out this daft and dangerous plan. The Government should focus on improving the standard of care at Portlaoise Hospital instead of putting patient safety at risk by downgrading services,” concluded Deputy Fleming.