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Thursday, May 13, 2010


In the Seanad on Tuesday, Fine Gael’s Dr. Liam Twomey asked the Minister for Health and Children to clarify if the 24 hours a day, seven days a week accident and emergency services at Wexford General Hospital are under threat. Outlining the number of cut backs that the county is expected to endure, Dr. Twomey said, “A number of acute beds at Wexford General Hospital were closed during the past 12 months, and now there are plans to close a 25 bed ward at Wexford General Hospital this summer. This is all on top of closing St. Senan’s Psychiatric Hospital next February, without an alternative acute psychiatric unit in place in the county.”
Dr. Twomey is also extremely worried by the comments made by the Minister in a meeting with Oireachtas members on Tuesday. “Dr. Colm Quigley, who is responsible for the transformation of health services in the south east, stated at this meeting that he would not be able to keep accident and emergency departments or maternity units open unless he breaks the European working time directive until 2012. When challenged, the Minister for Health and Children stated she would not allow the European working time directive to be broken.”
Dr. Twomey said that we are already fighting for the retention of a 24 hour A & E service in Wexford General Hospital but if what the Minister says is true it will lead to a massive reduction of services in accident and emergency departments throughout the country. In this case, the A & Es in Waterford and Dublin hospitals, which are supposed to be the alternative for Wexford people are also under threat. The Minister must explain what she intends to do as soon as possible.”
Dr. Twomey also explained “If Wexford’s A & E services are reduced, it will put patients’ lives at risk and certainly cause significant morbidity among patients because the ambulance service is not ready to take up the slack in transferring patients between Wexford and Waterford and Dublin. Additionally, Caredoc is not geared to take over the role of dealing with accident and emergency cases. In any case, no discussions have taken place between Caredoc and the HSE regarding Caredoc’s help in providing out-of-hours accident and emergency services.”
Dr. Twomey pointed out that the perception of the County Wexford people is that they are being treated in an underhand fashion by the Government and that they are almost being deliberately misled about plans for the future of the county’s health services. “The Government is allowing the issue regarding the A & E to fester before making a decision at the last minute. This is no way to treat the patients or people of County Wexford.”

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