Fianna Fáil TD for Laois Sean Fleming TD has today responded to a HIQA progress report on the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise by saying that all the problems in the hospital are a result of a lack of resources made available by the HSE to allow the hospital provide a sustainable service.

Deputy Fleming said, “There is a new regional manager in the HSE responsible for hospitals in Laois, Offaly, Kildare and South Dublin. The manager has a policy of not providing adequate resources to Portlaoise. She has stated her intention to downgrade the Emergency Department and this has put a cloud over the future of the hospital. The knock on effect of this, as highlighted by HIQA, is that the HSE is finding it difficult to recruit senior medical staff into Portlaoise.

“Everybody recalls the recent problems in the maternity unit. The HSE responded in a positive manner by providing adequate resources and staff alongside introducing a new governance supervision arrangement with the Coombe Maternity Hospital. This has resulted in substantial improvements in the maternity unit. The same positive approach must now be taken with the Emergency Department. If this is done then patient care will be enhanced and we will have a sustainable service in the hospital.

“A sustainable hospital can only exist if sufficient sustainable resources are provided by senior HSE management.

“I am laying 100% of the blame for the difficulties in Portlaoise on specific regional and national managers in the HSE. I am calling on the Minister for Health to tell the HSE to cancel their agenda against Portlaoise Hospital and to provide it with the sustainable resources that it needs to improve services in the region.

“Finally, it won’t be lost on people locally that these HSE managers want to transfer the thousands of patients that attend the Emergency Department in Portlaoise to the Emergency Department in Tullamore. This is despite Tullamore being so overcrowded that a 103 year old woman was recently left waiting 15 hours for a bed. The Emergency Department in Tullamore has had to close to patients 203 times so far this year alone.”