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Waterford Hospital

You might wonder why I am writing about Waterford Hospital but hopefully that will become clear as I go along.
First of all I wonder why so many hospitals are being referred to as ‘University Hospitals’ - Waterford University Hospital, Sligo University Hospital, Kerry University Hospital etc etc. I did not know there was a university in Kerry.

When Monaghan General Hospital was operational with surgical services until 2005 there was a plaque in the hallway stating that Monaghan Hospital was a Centre for the Royal College of Surgeons, and so it was, as young doctors came there for training and the existing consultants held classes and the doctors were all anxious to get to Monaghan because of the quality of training and the diverse types of problems presenting but the authorities closed it down as ‘unsafe’???

The arguments over what is the truth concerning the need for extra cardiac services in Waterford is ongoing. One side claims that the terms of reference for the man who conducted the Review where such as to ensure he would not recommend the extra services. They also claim that numbers were not presented properly to show that there is a demand and that the final decision is being made for political purposes. The other side claims that there is no demand for the extra services as the numbers needing the services are not sufficient to warrant the extra services. These also claim that this decision is being made by clinicians and not politicians and therefore we must do what the clinicians propose.

Does all that ring a bell with any of you? It certainly does with me as the very same thing happened when Monaghan was being downgraded. The authorities produced figures which were not complete to show little demand and use of existing services so that they could take services away. Despite an independent audit being carried out on medical services in Monaghan, which showed that Monaghan’s services were on a par and in some cases better than medical services in our major hospitals, the authorities still removed those services from Monaghan. The clinicians in Monaghan and elsewhere were adamant that the services should stay in Monaghan but they were not listened to. Again similarly now in Waterford the clinicians in local hospitals claim that the services are needed and need expansion but they are not being listened to. The old story – a hidden agenda somewhere with a vested interest pulling the strings and decisions are made, not in the patient interest but for someone else’s benefit.

Meanwhile Deputy Halligan TD claims that he was promised that the extra laboratory would be given to Waterford as part of his deal to support the Government but that they are now going back on their word. Can any of you remember a TD, James Reilly, who became Minister for Health in the following Government, standing on the steps of the Monaghan Courthouse promising the people of Monaghan that he and Fine Gael would fight with the people of Monaghan to restore the services to our hospital? He is deputy leader of the party now but has Fine Gael lived up to the promise?? What have they done for our health services other than allow it to deteriorate further done the scale of safety and efficiency. Deputy Halligan – take note – political promises are not meant to be kept.

Regarding the situation for the people of North Monaghan who end up with emergency heart problems - We are outside the 90 minute time limit to get to a Dublin hospital for emergency treatment even with a helicopter lift. However we are within a 90 minute limit to get to Altnagelvin in Derry, if the ambulance would take us. But that day is being planned. Letterkenny and Sligo will be downgraded and Altagelvin and Erne Enniskillen in Northern Ireland will take Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, West Cavan and North Monaghan emergencies. Cavan and Drogheda will be downgraded and Daisy Hill in Newry and North Dublin hospitals will take the patients from East Cavan, South and Mid Monaghan and Louth patients. The Department of Health and the HSE will soon have no work to do as so many hospitals will be downgraded and its patients will be going to an already chaotic system elsewhere but what the heck – clinicians need a long list of patients in order to remain skilled and wealthy, so lets pile all patients into the one hospital.

 

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