A LOCAL councillor has claimed that once again hours at Louth County Hospital could face the snip.
Chairman of the Louth Hospital Campaign Group Tomas Sharkey is claiming that the HSE is planning on cutting the Minor Injuries Unit opening hours. “HSE managers have been meeting on an ongoing basis to discuss what they call “Cost Containment” within local hospitals. I am informed that the opening hours of the Minor Injuries Unit in Dundalk are under serious threat from these cost containment plans. A Risk Assessment is being carried out by HSE management into the proposed reduction of hours. I challenged the HE that this risk assessment is about saving money and has no regard for patient safety. “The Minor Injuries Unit is currently a 9-8 service 7 days a week. Reports coming back from HSE meetings are suggesting that these hours will be cut to 9-6 five days a week. I have put it to the HSE that they are making these plans without proper consultations with hospital staff and with the focus on money and not patient safety.
“Indeed on the 18th April Minister James Reilly made a response to a Parliamentary Question stating that the current level of activity will be maintained at Louth County Hospital. the Minister needs to be made aware of what the HSE is planning here in Louth and put a stop to it.
“It makes no sense to cut back on our MIU. Last week there were 62 patients on trolleys in Our Lady of Lourdes. Forcing more patients into that environment is a recipe for disaster. Closing the MIU in Dundalk at the weekend will mean that surgical patients discharged from the Lourdes will have no dressings clinic to attend, it will mean that patients will have a 5-6 hour wait in the Lourdes instead of a 1 hour stay in Dundalk and it will also raise the unacceptable risk that patients will give up waiting in the Lourdes and go home without being seen.”
Cllr Sharkey wants pressure to brought on the HSE to stop the cuts the MIU hours.