Cllr Ken Glynn has called for dermatology services to be retained at the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar, amid fears that the dermatology clinic may be relocated to another midland hospital.
The first consultant dermatologist for the Midlands area was appointed to the Mullingar hospital in September 2007; however she resigned her post earlier this month to accept employment in Dublin.
The HSE is now recruiting for two consultant dermatologists, and according to Cllr Glynn, there is uncertainty as to whether these posts will be in Mullingar.
“It is now claimed that two consultant posts are being sought for the Midlands but uncertainty surrounds whether these will be in Mullingar. When Senator Camillus Glynn lobbied for a dermatology clinic for Mullingar hospital, the outcome was extremely favourable and a dermatologist was appointed, bringing a valuable service to Mullingar and the Midlands in general.
“I am greatly concerned that now, suddenly, funds to the tune of €300,000 are to be made available for the provision of not one but two dermatology posts, and that these posts may not end up in Mullingar Hospital,” he said.
A spokesperson for the HSE said yesterday that the recruitment of the consultants would ensure that a comprehensive dermatology service was available to the people of the Midlands, but did not confirm where the services would be located.
“The 2009 HSE Service Plan includes a provision to review acute hospital services in the Midlands area. This review will examine all service provision, including dermatology, and will be completed by the end of 2009,” read a statement from the HSE.
“Pending the outcome of this review it is the intention of the HSE to continue dermatology services in Mullingar and it is taking steps to ensure that care is continued to the dermatology patients who were in treatment in Mullingar.”
According to Cllr Glynn, moving the service from Mullingar would be totally unacceptable. “How much will this relocation cost the taxpayer, and what purpose will be served in shutting one unit down only to establish a new one from scratch? Surely in this current economic climate, saving resources, rather than squandering them, should be a priority.”
He called on Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney, and chief executive of the HSE, Professor Brendan Drumm, to ensure that the people of Mullingar, Longford/Westmeath, and the Midlands maintain the service they have become accustomed to and deserve.
“I will leave no stone unturned in defending the entitlement of the people of Mullingar to retain this vital and sorely needed service. I am calling on the HSE to be held accountable for their decision. We cannot let the HSE rob Mullingar of such valuable services.”