17 June 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

By Michael McDonnell

TODAY’S crucial meeting with between local public representatives and the new Minister for Health Dr James Reilly on the future of Monaghan hospital comes against a background where it was reported in the national media this week that HSE managers in the Dublin-North East area have warned that the hospital might have to close altogether — if other controversial proposals to cut costs are not approved.
Attending the meeting with Dr Reilly at the Department of Health’s offices in Dublin will be representatives of Monaghan Town Council, the Co Council, local TDs and the Monaghan Hospital Alliance campaign group. Dr Illona Duffy and Peadar McMahon of the Alliance told the Northern Standard yesterday that the group would be calling for a new Medical Assessment Unit at the very least for Monaghan Hospital.
It was reported in the Irish Times on Monday that HSE managers in Dublin-North East had warned that if a blueprint for cutting costs was not given approval, even more extreme measures such as closing smaller hospitals like Monaghan and Louth would have to be looked at.
The measures suggested had included a cap on access to immunisation schemes, cuts in the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme for pregnant women and newborn babies, and a scaling back of services for sexual abuse victims. The HSE in the North East was facing a deficit of €50 million this year even with existing cost-cutting measures taken into account, the managers had warned.
The Irish Times said it had been told by the HSE that the leaked draft report being referring to was merely a “work in progress”, while Minister Reilly himself — who has already asked all four regions in the HSE to make proposals on how to deal with the financial difficulties — sought to play down any concerns by describing the suggestions as “utter nonsense”.
Closing hospitals was not on his agenda, Dr Reilly said in response to the newspaper reports, and he could also “absolutely guarantee”
Full story in The Northern Standard

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