Offaly TD Barry Cowen has said there will be strong resistance to any removal of services at Tullamore Hospital under the proposed new Hospital Groups being implemented by Minister James Reilly.
Deputy Cowen was commenting after the Taoiseach again told the Dáil that the report on Hospital Groups has not been brought to Cabinet, despite the fact that leaked proposals are emerging in the midlands about the proposed changes.
The Fianna Fáil deputy said: “Leaked proposals for the hospital groups being brought in by Fine Gael and Labour link Tullamore and Portlaoise in with St James’s and Tallaght in Dublin while Mullingar hospital looks set to be linked with St Vincent’s Hospital and the Mater. This plan makes no sense whatsoever. Significant time and considerable public money has been spent over many years building up services in Tullamore and across the three sites of the Midland Regional Hospital.”
Deputy Cowen added: “If this plan is pursued it will break up the Midlands group which flies in the face of common sense. I also believe it will disrupt the continuity of care and specialty of services to the people of the Midlands, such as Orthopaedics and Dialysis in Offaly, Paediatrics in Portlaoise and maternity services in Mullingar. There is a strong feeling in the medical community locally that this plan is being designed to reduced critical mass and justify the permanent removal of services from Tullamore, Portlaoise and Mullingar, to transfer to Dublin.
“Any reduction in services will face strong resistance on the ground. The fact that the Taoiseach can tell the Dáil that no plan has been brought to Cabinet yet is cold comfort to the medical professionals in the Midlands seeing these changes take place before their eyes. It is clear that Minister Reilly’s will is already being implemented by the HSE on the ground. There has been a total lack of consultation and it seems the public representatives and citizens in the midlands will simply be presented with a final decision.”