LOUTH County Hospital has suffered another knock this week with a leaked internal memo flagging new week-on-week off times for the operating theatres.
Sinn Fein councillor Tomás Sharkey, who obtained the internal memo on the matter, has strongly condemned the move.
“We have two theatres in our local hospital,” Cllr Sharkey said, “yet the new plan will see both of them close every second week. I have seen the memo to staff and also the timetable which clearly shows the cuts to service.”
The memo states: “The reason behind the closure is to allow LCH (Louth County Hospital) nursing staff to assist clearing waiting lists in OLOL (Our Lady fo Lourdes).”
The HSE has defended the move, which they say will enable more activity at the hospital.
In a statement it said: “Louth Meath Hospital Group are currently in discussions to change its theatre schedule. This change will not decrease activity in Louth County Hospital, rather, instead of running one theatre each week it will run two theatres on alternative weeks so it will be the same amount of theatre time.
“Additional equipment has also been purchased so that additional procedures can be undertaken in Louth County Hospital.”
But Cllr Sharkey says the memo to staff clearly admits that the theatres in Dundalk will be closed to allow Dundalk staff clear the long waiting lists in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.
“This is a damning admission that since the Louth has lost its services, the Lourdes it is not able to cope. The Louth is a good safe hospital. The staff second to none. This shows the HSE have been making a dog’s dinner of hospital services.”