Mayo Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary has expressed serious concern about an “escalating crisis” at Mayo General Hospital following news of severe cutbacks to frontline services.
According to the Ballina based deputy the HSE is to close 10 orthopaedic beds and one out of four of the surgical wards at Mayo General. In addition to this, he said a further 12 in-patient beds are being downgraded to day beds. “All of this is part of the latest round of additional cutbacks sanctioned by the Minister for Health James Reilly,” said Dep Calleary.
“There is no doubt that these latest cuts will have a serious impact on patients in Mayo and there can be no justification for this,” he added.
“Mayo General Hospital is already under severe pressure, particularly since the closure of the A&E in Roscommon. The number of admissions to Mayo General’s emergency department doubled between July 2011 and July 2012 and waiting times have increased significantly. Much of this is directly down to the surge in patients travelling to Mayo for treatment because they’ve nowhere to go since the Government downgraded Roscommon Hospital.
“Management at Mayo General applied to the Health Minister’s new special delivery unit for help in tackling its soaring waiting lists. But they were denied any level of support. This raises further questions about what exactly Minister Reilly’s expensive SDU project is actually for, if not to address issues such as this at hospitals like Mayo General.”
According to Dep Calleary Mayo General Hospital is already €5.1 million in debt for the first half of this year and is on course to end the year with an overspend of €9 million.
“I am urging the Government to reconsider these dangerous new cuts to our local health services, and to address the escalating funding crisis at Mayo General Hospital. It is abundantly clear that Mayo General simply cannot take any more blunt cuts to frontline resources and that patients’ lives will be put at risk unless the Government takes this seriously,” said Dep Calleary.
There was also good news for Mayo General this week with the announcement that the post of consultant rheumatologist has been re-advertised with interviews for the position expected to be carried out in mid-October.
That is according to Ballina councillor Annie May Reape who voiced a question at this week’s HSE West forum meeting in Merlin Park.
Cllr Reape said: “For the past 18 months at HSE forum level, I have been campaigning for this appointment at Mayo General Hospital so that the hundreds of adult and juvenile arthritis sufferers in Mayo can be spared the trauma of travelling in acute pain to UCHG for treatment.
“I am very pleased now that the area manager of the HSE has indicated that the post, to be shared between Mayo General and UCHG, has been advertised with interviews scheduled for October.
“Twenty-five years ago arthritis sufferers in Mayo had the benefit of an out-patient service at Mayo General and I am well aware from speaking personally to many arthritis sufferers across Mayo that the hundreds who are affected will be relieved when a consultant rheumatologist is appointed.”