Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has said: “It is entirely clear that the government’s 2011 decision on the status of Portlaoise hospital was fundamentally dishonest. It was a political decision taken for local political advantage.
Deputy Kelleher commented: “Former Minister Reilly decided that Portlaoise should be a model-3 hospital. Yet as the HIQA report pointed out the hospital was not resourced to safely provide services at a level that would be expected of a model-3 hospital. Rather than resource it the government instead approved successive HSE Service Plans which meant that the hospital was not capable of providing the services expected of it.
“Of course the government took this decision on Portlaoise at a time when its election lies over the future of Roscommon hospital had been exposed. Clearly it was a decision taken in fear of a further backlash.
“However to tell Portlaoise that it would be a model-3 hospital and then withhold the requisite resources is essentially just as deceitful and dishonest as what happened in Roscommon. We have seen a lot of deceit and dishonesty over our health services under this Government. What happened at Portlaoise was just part of a pattern.”
Deputy Kelleher also expressed concern about the relationship between the HSE and HIQA. “It’s clear from comments made by the HSE Director-General Tony O’Brien on RTÉ Radio today that the relationship between the watchdog and the HSE appears fractious at best and dysfunctional at worst. The Minister for Health and the Government need to give clear direction on the future of Portlaoise Hospital to ensure no other families are put through needless ordeals at the expense of a bureaucratic structure.”