Newly elected Sinn Féin TD for Mayo, Rose Conway Walsh, has said that: "The planned cuts in healthcare services by the HSE that will decimate healthcare across the West are of massive concern to me. Recent data that I have received states that 153 primary care posts are to be left unfulfilled by the HSE in Galway and Mayo."
In a statement on her website the TD said that: " The 153 posts are broken down as follows: (1 ) 40 posts suppressed last year, (2 ) 9 posts suppressed last week – 8 Occupational therapy posts and 1 clerical officer post; (3 ) 60 posts to be suppressed this year and (4 ) 44 uncovered maternity posts where no cover will be provided.
She added that the following services are due to be closed by the HSE in Mayo: (1 ) Public Health Nursing, Mayo – (Inishturk Island ); (2 ) Occupational Therapy, Mayo – (Adult Service, Ballinrobe ); (3 ) Occupational Therapy, Mayo – (Paediatric Long Waiters, South Mayo ); (4 ) Occupational Therapy, Mayo – (Adult Service, Balla / Castlebar ); (5 ) Physiotherapy,Mayo – (Young Adults with Disabilities, Countywide ); (6 ) Physiotherapy, Mayo – (Castlebar Elderly and Neurological Clients ) and (7 ) Physiotherapy, Mayo – (Respiratory Integrated Care ).
She continued in her statement saying: "These cuts will devastate our already threadbare primary healthcare service. These cuts are additional to the ongoing deficit of staff across the State and in the West in primary care. This shows that the government and the HSE are truly not serious about Sláintecare. With these proposals, the HSE will make healthcare truly inaccessible for many.
"It shows scant regard for empowering primary and community care as a first line of health defence in order to keep people out of acute hospitals. There are huge waiting lists to be seen by the staff that they are suppressing, such as Occupational Therapy, Speech and Language Therapy and Physiotherapy.
"The result of such suppression and cuts to posts is people attending Emergency Departments and hospital overcrowding – something we don’t need, especially with a possibility of a serious public health emergency.
"We need to invest in primary care, that is the core of Sláintecare, and ensure that people can get the services they need where they need it and when they need it. I am calling on the HSE management to deeply rethink their proposals suggested."