Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Health Billy Kelleher has welcomed the fact that the Taoiseach has caved in to public and political pressure on the future of services at Waterford Regional Hospital and has committed in the Dáil this morning to retaining services at Waterford Regional Hospital.
Deputy Kelleher commented: “There has been huge concern in Waterford and across the south east about what is being planned under the new ‘hospital groups’ by Minister James Reilly, and there has been much speculation that services would be moved out of Waterford as a result. I welcome the fact that the Taoiseach has accepted the will of the public in the south east and has now committed to retaining services at the hospital going forward.
“I believe this will come as a relief to people who have been really concerned about the lack of clarity from Minister Reilly. Thousands of people supported a rally in Waterford in February against any downgrade of services at the hospital. People in the south east have been extremely concerned for the future of the hospital services and have witnessed the chaos with which Minister Reilly has governed the health service over the last two years.
“Fianna Fáil believes WRH has a critical role to play in healthcare across the south east. Under the previous government Waterford was designated as one of the Centres of Excellence in Cancer treatment and I very much welcome the fact that the Taoiseach has committed to retaining that today. There should be no removal of specialist or trauma care from the hospital as part of the revised plan for hospital groups.
“It’s still unclear what will be proposed for the reconfiguration of hospitals in the south east, what hospitals will be linked with Dublin or Cork, but my position as Health Spokesperson for Fianna Fáil is that Waterford Regional Hospital should not be downgraded in any way and any attempt to withdraw services from the hospital and from the half a million people served by the hospital in the region will be resisted.”