Louth Fianna Fáil TD Seamus Kirk has expressed his outrage at plans to introduce sweeping cuts to hospital services across the North East from next week.
Deputy Kirk raised concerns about the proposed cuts to hospital services in Louth and Meath last week, but he was dismissed by Fine Gael and the HSE and accused of ‘scaremongering’ by local Government TDs.
“I am appalled that our local Government representatives would stand by such outrageous cuts to our hospital services,” said Deputy Kirk. “The fact that just days ago Fine Gael denied that such cuts were planned is just another disgraceful example of their failure to be upfront and honest with the people of Louth and Meath.
“We simply cannot afford to close 24 beds in the Louth County Hospital in Dundalk. The hospital is already under severe pressure and the outright closure of entire wards will lead to more overcrowding and longer waiting lists. It will leave sick people waiting for months to see specialists and get the treatment they need. It will push patients onto the already overcrowded Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda and cause chaos at the Accident and Emergency Department there.
“In addition to this, we are facing huge gaps in frontline staffing levels as a result of a complete ban on agency staff and over time in the coming months. How exactly does the Government expect to maintain a safe standard of care in these circumstances?
“These dangerous cuts are a direct result of the Health Minister’s woeful handling of the HSE’s budget for this year. He prepared a dishonest estimate for this year and misled the public for months on end about the extent of the budget crisis. He ignored multiple warnings from the HSE Chief Executive Cathal Magee about the state of the HSE’s finances and the failure to raise revenue in a number of other ways, including controlling the price of medicines. Now Minister Reilly is trying to cover his mistakes by bulldozing through our frontline health services.
“I and my party colleagues will fight these cuts at every turn. I am urging the local Fine Gael representatives to stand up for their constituents and stop their colleague Minister Reilly from putting patients at risk in this way.”