DESPITE Taoiseach Micheál Martin expressing support for an elective hospital in the Mid West, his comments seems to have had little effect on Health Minister Stephen Donnelly who has doubled down on his refusal to consider such a development.
Minister Donnelly’s latest rejection came in the form of a written response to Labour Party TD Alan Kelly on Monday when he stated that sufficient capacity will be provided through dedicated, standalone elective hospitals in Cork, Galway and Dublin.
“The Government decision is very clear on this. No other locations are under active consideration at this time as these are our immediate priorities,” he declared.
“The locations chosen will allow for new facilities of a size and scale to implement a national elective care programme that will tackle waiting lists on a national basis. The new facilities will be designed to cover as wide a catchment area as possible, extending beyond existing and future health areas including the Mid-West.
“The locations were also chosen in line with good practice which suggests that, in order to maximise economies of scale, dedicated, standalone elective centres should be “as big as is reasonably possible” to meet identified demand while providing appropriate population coverage.
“It is envisaged that the Cork and Galway facilities combined will cater for up to 350,000 procedures annually,” Minister Donnelly’s reply stated.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the response, Deputy Kelly said that the refusal to even consider an elective hospital for the Mid West was despite multiple requests from himself and other local Oireachtas members.
“Astonishingly it also follows the Taoiseach committing recently in the Dail to speaking to Minister Donnelly about it as he agreed with the need for it,” the Tipperary TD added.
‘We all know that the Mid West has huge issues when it comes to the capacity of the acute services to manage. The situation in UHL in particular is of huge concern. The recent Deloitte report showed in real terms how much resources the region needed in order just to catch up with other regions.
“The MidWest is being discriminated against when it comes to volumes of beds, consultants and other staff when it comes to providing a health service.
“The management of the HSE in the region have even stated publicly that there is a need for a new elective hospital in the region. It’s as obvious as can be but the Minister for Health has turned his head steadfastly against it, despite knowing that his party leader and Taoiseach is publicly advocating for it.
“It’s time for the Taoiseach to bring the Minister for Health to heel on this matter as he obviously doesn’t understand the seriousness of the situation or respect the Taoiseach’s view,” Deputy Kelly concluded.