Council tackles Reilly on theatre shutdown
CODY CLAIMS OVERSPEND IS REGIONAL, NOT LOCAL
WEXFORD county councillors found themselves pre-empted by town councillor Anthony Kelly at last week's meeting of Wexford County Council as he was first out of the blocks in denouncing the closure of an operating theatre at Wexford General.
The Sinn Féin man had no hesitation about appearing on local radio during the morning, prompting Cllr. Padge Reck to call for a debate on the subject when the county councillors gathered for their monthly meeting in the afternoon.
However, some members were concerned that the cutback had not been confirmed and those of them on the HSE's South Forum indicated that they had not been made aware of any such move. In these circumstances, chairwoman Kathleen Codd Nolan was prepared to wait until the November meeting to discuss the matter.
She did not have to wait that long as enquiries were made during the afternoon tea break with the hospital manager. She confirmed that one of the theatres in the hospital had been closed and would remain closed for 11 weeks.
Councillor Reck was worried that some patients requiring non-emergency procedures are already being given appointment dates 18 months away. He persuaded members to write a letter of complaint to Health Minister James Reilly on the matter. New Ross based Cllr. Michael Sheehan described the move as despicable and a disgrace, warning the hundreds of families will be affected.
But Cllr. Pat Cody (Labour) was less dramatic in his response: 'Don't let's panic and say we do not have a health service. Wexford General has out-performed all other hospitals in the region. It is regional budgets that are the problem.'
Cllr. Tony Dempsey warned that the savings made through the measure would be small, while Cllr. Declan MacPartlin described the closure as depressing. Councillors agreed to write to the Minister on the matter though Cllr. Cody insisted that sending such a letter looked foolish.