A Dark Cloud Cast over the Future Delivery of Health Care Services to the People of County Clare – BREEN

January 8th, 2009 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. Pat Breen has today (Wednesday) reacted angrily to media reports which once again cast a dark cloud over the future of 24 Hour Accident and Emergency Services at Ennis General Hospital. “Today’s media reports coupled with news that the HSE is planning to reconfigure their Services on a Regional Basis casts a dark cloud over the future delivery of Health Care Services to the people of County Clare. There is now real apprehensive and fear in the County. Minister Harney must take responsibility for the Health Service; these reports must be published immediately and the future delivery of Health Services must be debated in the Dail where the Minister must be held to account.


 “We have a crisis in Emergency Departments in the Mid-West Region for several months now; yesterday the situation was chronic both at Ennis General Hospital and the Mid-West Regional Hospital in Limerick. The Staff and Management at Ennis General Hospital are being forced to work in appalling conditions under enormous pressure.”

“But it is not today or yesterday that this has happened; this Government has allowed services to be withdrawn from Ennis General Hospital by stealth over the past number of years and the reality is that the Hanly is alive and well and is been implemented in the Mid-West region without any consultation. Indeed our entire Health Service is underresouced and patients are finding it more and more difficult to access basic services in the system.”


“Today’s media reports suggest that €370 in capital investment is required if this reconfiguration is to deliver services in line with best international practice with €60m required for Ennis General Hospital. For the past ten years not one cent of the €39m Capital Investment programme has been seen in Ennis and now we are expected to believe that a further €21m will be invested.”


“Now we read that services are to be reconfigured regionally again. Is this an acknowledgment by the Health Minister that current set up is a disaster and that there is too much money going into the Fat Cats at the top and not enough in delivering front line services.”


“Fine Gael opposed the setting up of the HSE in the first place. The rush to get the HSE set up by the politically driven deadline meant that the entire structure was just cobbled-together with no foundations. A CEO was not appointed for 12 months after it was set up and then the Minister for Health and Children transferred control of the Budget to the HSE; this should never have been allowed to happen.”


“Minister Harney can no longer sit in her Ivory Tower. She must be accountable and answerable to Dail Eireann. Up to €14m of Taxpayers money is provided to the HSE for 2009 and the Minister must be held to account.”

“Just before the Dail broke up for the Christmas Period I raised this matter on the Adjournment Debate of the Dail and the Junior Minister at the Department of Education and Science Sean Haughey T.D. replying on behalf of the Minister Harney said that “I assure the Deputy, on behalf of the Minister, that Ennis General Hospital will continue to play a significant part in the delivery of health care in the region.”


“I am not convinced. “There will be chaos at Ennis General Hospital if these cuts go ahead. There will be chaos in County Clare and lives will be lost. Before any decision is made to reconfigure services in the Mid-West the Minister must publish all these reports immediately and a proper and meaningful debate must take place. There should be widespread consultation and engagement with all the relevant stakeholders.