It is totally unacceptable that the HSE is proposing cuts to services for older people in County Mayo at a time when more than €61 million is owed to the HSE West by private health insurance companies.
That is the view of Mayo Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary who raised the matter of impending bed closures at St Joseph’s District Hospital Ballina with Minister of State at the Department of Health Roisin Shorthall in the Dáil last week.
“There is a genuine fear across County Mayo and in Ballina in particular that step-down services are being slashed as a result of HSE Budget constraints. I raised the matter of impending bed closures at Ballina District Hospital in the Dáil on Wednesday afternoon, and I am extremely disappointed and angry that the Minister confirmed that 12 beds are to close, reducing the hospital’s overall capacity to 50,” said Deputy Calleary.
“I raised the matter as a Topical Issues Debate in the Dáil and I clearly outlined to the Minister the fantastic services available at Ballina District Hospital which include step-down facilities for patients discharged from Mayo General who require a further period of convalescence before being discharged home; step-down facilities for patients identified as requiring a long stay bed in a community nursing unit; outpatients clinics including surgical, medical, paediatric, orthopaedic; while GPs also refer patients for admission, physiotherapy, and X-ray.
“I highlighted the fact that the county’s acute hospital, Mayo General, is performing very well as result of the level of step-down service available at our three district hospitals and I suggested to the Minister that any cut to services in our district hospitals will undermine the ability of Mayo General to maintain its present level of performance.”
“Sixty community nursing unit bed closures have previously been announced and now a further 12 at Ballina District Hospital. This is completely unacceptable”, said Deputy Calleary.