The Regional Hospital in Mullingar could end up blacklisted like Ennis General Hospital if the HSE continues to under-resource it.
That’s the concern of Fine Gael Senator Nicky McFadden who says lack of staff and resources and a loss of services to other hospitals may lead to an inevitable negative report from a body such as the Health Iinformation Quality Authority.
Staff in Mullingar are fighting all the time to hold on to services, she said, and she believes the HSE’s actions are “morally wrong”.
She describes as “insidious” the underlying slow under-resourcing of services in Mullingar, including the dermatology service.
The Westmeath Senator says that it iss no good having a service in name if there are no resources to back it up, and describes how an excellent dermatologist was trying to run the service on her own.
“You cannot run a service if you’ve no registrar, no SHO and no nurses, or if you’ve no equipment.”
She has written to Minister for Health Mary Harney asking her specifically to fund the dermatological service in Mullingar.
The Senator agrees that centres of excellence are required for cancer care but points out that gynaecology, obstetrics, stroke, and dermatological services are essential for Mullingar and for the whole of the Midlands where they provide “a vital service”.
“I’m just worried that it’ll be downgraded further, that the HSE won’t put the resources in, and we’ll end up with no hospital. That’s just not good enough.
“We need to hold on to small hospitals to complement our centres of excellence.”
She says that while moves are underway to move colposcopy and women’s services to Tullamore where there is no gynaecology or obstetrics service, “we’ve absolutely wonderful gynaecologists and obstetricians in Mullingar”.
The recent HIQA study into Ennis General Hospital concluded that it is now unsafe.