Howlin claims document was 'mugging' of hospital
LABOUR TD Brendan Howlin was given a copy of the leaked HSE document last week and was shocked to discover the proposals it contained for Wexford General Hospital.
He put his faith in the reconfiguration process because he was confident of Wexford hospital's position as the most efficient hospital in the south-east and the best-performing in the country after St. James Hospital in Dublin, he said.
'But this document was a mugging of Wexford General Hospital,' said Deputy Howlin who immediately contacted HSE Regional Director of Operations Pat Healy and Hospital Network Manager Richard Dooley asking them to meet with Wexford Oireachtas members last Saturday.
'As a result of that meeting, the bottom line is that we have offset a major assault on the hospital,' he said, adding that the first HSE reaction to his statement on the leaked proposals was the cancellation of the Reconfiguration Steering Group meeting scheduled for Friday last.
Deputy Howlin said the Oireachtas members were given the strongest assurances that Wexford would hold onto its A&E and maternity services. ' What we haven't nailed down just yet is that the A&E will be a 24/7 service. That is the issue on which we now have to be the most active,' he said.
Deputy Howlin said he believed that Dr. Colm Quigley resigned as Clinical Lead of the steering group because objective health criteria were not coming to the fore during the reconfiguration process.
The Labour T.D. now believes that the kind of health reform envisaged at the start of the reconfiguration process is not currently possible because there is no money to invest in services. 'We haven't a shilling so we can't provide the changes that were envisaged at the start of this. I'm not in favour of transferring a service and pretending that Waterford can provide it without the necessary additional investment.'
Deputy Howlin said he felt that HSE chiefs were embarrassed by last week's turn of events but ' they were more worried about the document being leaked than the content'.
He said he was informed that the leaked document had not yet been submitted to the reconfiguration group.