THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE attended a protest outside Midlands Regional Hospital Portlaoise on Saturday night calling on the government to protect its A&E services.
In a HSE report, leaked some weeks ago, it was proposed that the hospital be downgraded, because the numbers attending that are not sufficient to appoint the number of critical care consultants needed.
Attendees, including many local politicians, called on Minister for Health Simon Harris to take the steps to save the hospital. Among those was Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan. Addressing the crowds, he vowed to “look you in the eye and say to you that I will continue to do my utmost to preserve, maintain and improve services at our regional hospital in Portlaoise, because our lives matter”, the Leinster Express reported.
Minister Harris recently told the Dáil that “governance and management arrangements in Portlaoise Hospital have been strengthened, additional clinical staff have been appointed and staff training, hospital culture and communications have improved”.
Addressing the Dáil on the matter last week, however, Fianna Fáil’s Sean Fleming said that “the emergency department, maternity department, paediatric care unit, intensive care unit and all inpatient surgery in Portlaoise” would be closed under the plans.
He added that “the regional manager effectively only sees Portlaoise as a glorified health centre dealing with minor injuries and day procedures”.