Fianna Fáil Deputy Robert Troy says the already stretched services at Midlands Regional Hospital in Mullingar will be put under even more severe pressure after yesterday’s announcement of the HSE Dublin Mid-Leinster Regional Service Plan.

Deputy Troy was commenting on the publication today of the report, which reveals that funding for the health services in this region will be cut by €647 million, or 4.9%, this year.

“The budget for the hospital this year is €56.4 million but an over-run of almost €2 million from last year must be factored in before costs are drawn up. I know for a fact that it took €60 million to run Midlands Regional Hospital in Mullingar last year. Anyone can see that this loss in funding of almost 10% will be a disaster for the hospital. 

“Delayed discharges are having a major impact on bed availability in Midlands Regional Hospital, Mullingar. The average at the moment is ten per week. If these cases were placed in more appropriate wards, it would help with Emergency Department trolley numbers. The hospital lost 1,000 bed days to delayed discharges in 2010 and this increased to 2,800 last year. The inefficiency will no doubt continue apace this year.

“The stretched services will be placed at breaking point, this puts lives at risk and I would urge the Minister for Health to reverse these cuts for the sake of people in Westmeath and Longford. The hospital has been classified as the most efficient outside of Dublin yet it is targeted for cuts.

The HSE plan for the region has already been approved by the Health Minister James Reilly.

“I’m astounded by the fact that the government have been so blatant in breaking their promises to the people of the Longford and Westmeath. It is less than a year ago that the Fine Gael and Labour parties promised to restore and enhance health services for people in the region. What happened to Fine Gael’s promise of funding following the patient? This is another example of the blatant disregard by the government of the people in the region.

“In addition Minister Reilly plans to shut down up to 898 community hospital beds nationwide this year. It isn’t difficult to see that patients will be the losers in this,” concluded Deputy Troy.