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Friday, September 24, 2010


Dr. Liam Twomey warns that the leaked HSE document on the reconfiguration of health services in the South East is putting patients lives at risk and makes access to healthcare harder for thousands of patients.

Leaked documents from the HSE indicate that the HSE only supports the retention of two major hospitals in the South East. These two hospitals at Waterford Regional Hospital and St. Luke’s in Kilkenny, are only 30 minutes apart via the new motorway.

In contrast, Wexford Hospital is over an hour away from either hospital and serves a catchment area of 150,000 people, larger than any other county in the South East. The HSE document indicates that Wexford will only have 12 hour Urgent Care, no acute surgery and no maternity services. Taking into account the imminent closure of St. Senan’s psychiatric hospital in County Wexford next year and no significant investment in either primary care or the ambulance services, the HSE stand accused of dismantling the health services in the South East with Wexford being seriously affected.

There is already growing concern by patients and doctors that Waterford Regional Hospital is failing to deliver health services in an appropriate manner.
Waiting times for ENT (Ear Nose and Throat), Orthopaedic (bones) and Urology (prostate/bladder problem) Outpatients is at least two years and up to four years. The HSE’s failure to deliver these services in a timely manner is unacceptable. The HSE’s long term plan as outlined in the leaked document will cost patients their lives and lead to more problems with delayed diagnosis.

The HSE’s failure to maintain services at the appropriate level at Wexford General Hospital is alarming. Between 20 -30 patients have been on trolleys on numerous occasions during the summer months. Up to 30 nurses are on maternity leave and have not been replaced leading to reduction of services at the Hospital. The Hospital budget has been cut by 11 million in the last 3 years.

As Fine Gael spokesperson on Health and Children from 2004-2007, I watched with dismay the botched reconfiguration of the North East; I now see the same flawed thinking being applied to the South East.

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