Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has said the Minister for Health James Reilly should attend a special meeting of the Health Committee to discuss the closure of Mount Carmel Hospital in Dublin and the impact this will have on the public hospital system.
Deputy Kelleher said: “I think there are very serious questions that we have yet to see the Minister address. I want to know when exactly he first became aware of difficulties at Mount Carmel? What did he do with this information? What discussions did he have with other Ministers and was Mount Carmel hospital discussed by the Cabinet? If Minister Reilly did not raise the concerns about the future of Mount Carmel with his colleagues, why not?
“These are all issues that the Health Committee should be able to go through with the Minister. I have also asked the Committee Chairman to facilitate worker representatives, the owner Gerry Conlan and officials from the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) at the health committee. The closure of Mount Carmel hospital is extremely regrettable and I think the public has the right to know if it was avoidable. Thousands of patients are being affected by the closure with planned operations and appointments now being rescheduled.
“Mount Carmel has been providing orthopaedic, maternity, renal, cardiac, paediatric, urological and surgical services for many years. It is a major player in the health service in Dublin and I think Minister Reilly is being utterly naive to think that such as hospital can close and it won’t increase pressure on the health service. The impact of not having Mount Carmel maternity services for expectant mothers alone will further hit services that are already stretched to the limit.
“It is essential that we get answers over the closure of Mount Carmel. It is very regressive for health care in Dublin and I think the very least the Minister can do is provide clarity about what he knew, when he knew it and what he did about it?”