Local TD John Deasy has warned that a failure to centralise or reconfigure acute services in the Southeast within Waterford Regional Hospital could see such specialities leaving the region entirely.
Having been briefed by Hospital administrators at Ardkeen, the Fine Gael Deputy said: “At present we have a number of hospitals providing similar services throughout the Southeast. Talks between the HSE and representatives of those hospitals have taken place but haven’t led to any agreement regarding the centralisation of services. The basic idea is to create centres of excellence throughout all the different regions in an attempt to save money and provide patients with better outcomes.”
Attempts to centralise hospital services into Waterford are being resisted by representatives of all political parties representing hospitals such as Clonmel, Kilkenny and Wexford. However, this week the HSE’s CEO Professor Brendan Drumm made his views on the matter clear, stating that a massive rationalisation and reconfiguration of hospital services was needed immediately and that people needed to face up to that fact.”
Deputy Deasy says: “Everyone is fighting their own corner and that is fair enough but it could be counter productive for everyone in the Southeast. There is only one realistic site for these centres of excellence in the Southeast and that is Waterford Regional Hospital.
“People in Clonmel, Kilkenny and Wexford don’t want to accept that and are resisting the very concept but the danger is that if no agreement is reached, services could end up moving to either Cork or Kerry.”
The Dungarvan-based TD has also warned about the ability or inability of present Government to make crucial decisions that could affect the electoral prospects of Fianna Fail backbenchers already under massive pressure in their constituencies.
“For example, we have four paediatric units spread around the region; it doesn’t make any sense to continue this system, from the patients’ standpoint or even financially. However the Government’s majority is so thin, even when the obvious choices are staring everyone in the face regarding the centralisation of hospital services, it seems incapable of taking these vital steps.
Deputy Deasy concluded: “One of the important things now is to make TDs from every party aware of the dangers if a proper reconfiguration of acute services is not undertaken. We have TDs organising mass meetings around the region. I can understand why someone would want to protect vital services in their own constituency but it is being made absolutely clear to me that their opposition could lead to these services leaving the Southeast.
“I don’t need to spell out the implications of acute services, presently located in Waterford Regional Hospital, leaving and going elsewhere. It would be a catastrophe for the region and the city.”