Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow – Kilkenny Bobby Aylward says he is concerned after the Minister for Health Simon Harris refused to confirm when the National Steering Group will publish its report on a Trauma System for Ireland.

The group is examining the configuration of emergency services across a number of hospitals. The group was established in 2015 and is yet to furnish its reports and recommendations to Minister Harris.

“I recently questioned Minister Harris on this issue in the Dáil. At the time I made it clear to the Minister that the availability of major trauma care needs to be maintained at St Lukes. Unfortunately the reply I received from Minister Harris is non-committal and he has kicked the issue to touch by saying he has to await the publication of a report by the Trauma Steering Group,” said Deputy Aylward.

“Last summer the Minister indicated that the group’s report and recommendations would be furnished by the end of 2016. In December the Minister revealed that the report would be delayed until early 2017 but we are into March now and there is still no sign of this report or any indication as to when we will see it published.

“People in Kilkenny and right across the South-East are concerned as it has been reported on a number of occasions that this group could recommend the downgrading of services at St. Luke’s. The Minister has a responsibility to put pressure on the National Steering Group to report in a timely manner so that people’s minds are put at ease.

“The boundary committee reported a year late and Minister Coveney has refused to even confirm a timeline as to when final decision will be made. Such exorbitant delays on reports, which affect the lives of so many people, cannot simply be shelved for months on end. It is unacceptable.

“I firmly believe that the availability of major trauma care needs to be retained at St. Lukes. This is something which I will be monitoring closely over the coming months,” concluded Deputy Aylward.