The Minister for Health Dr. James Reilly must immediately clarify what services will be affected in the cost-cutting plans being put in place by the HSE.  Communities in counties across the country are extremely concerned about the future of services at their local hospitals.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher said: “It is simply not acceptable for the Minister to remain silent while local communities in Meath, Louth, Dublin, Cork, Roscommon and many other counties are in fear of what the future holds for their hospital services.”

“The reports across the country stem from a HSE report to HIQA.  The most significant points made in the report relate to the removal of emergency services and 24 hour emergency services in the likes of Roscommon and Loughlinstown hospitals.  Fianna Fáil has called on the Government to facilitate a debate in the Dáil next week on the future of services in small hospitals so that people know the truth about what the Government is proposing and whether commitments made during the general election will be honoured.”

“For example, Fine Gael made a clear commitment during and after the general election to retain and enhance services at Roscommon Hospital and also at Navan Hospital as part of the Save Navan Hospital Campaign.

“Minister James Reilly has said this week that he intends to publish a plan for small hospitals in the next few weeks – something he never mentioned during the election. He admitted this week that this could involve ward closures and a “temporary cessation” of certain services, but stressed the closure of small hospitals was not on his agenda.

Asked if small hospitals could be closed, Minister Reilly replied: “I can’t say never . . . what I’m saying is if you’re asking me could there be temporary cessation of certain services and wards . . . that’s a possibility . . . but in terms of closing hospitals, no – that is not on my agenda and I do not see with the current capacity issues we have how it could be on my agenda.”

“The concern I have is that once again the government is not being clear with the public.  This is causing fear and unnecessary anxiety in communities across the country and I think the Minister should make a public statement to deal with the concerns being expressed,” concluded Deputy Kelleher.