Denis Naughten is calling on local people to support the retention of both emergency and maternity services in Portiuncula Hospital in the forthcoming general election.
Denis Naughten is the only candidate who publicly defended both the maternity and mental health services in Ballinasloe when management wanted to shut them down.
He referred to the review of maternity services at the hospital pointing out that it had been sought by families and staff at Portiuncula Hospital to provide parents with the facts of what happened to their babies in the hospital and, secondly, to ensure that the supports and staffing were put in place to sustain the second busiest maternity unit in the West of Ireland.
“There has always been a fear that a report commissioned by the Saolta University Hospital Group would be used to implement a previous internal review to downgrade the maternity unit at Portiuncula Hospital,” stated Denis Naughten.
“Furthermore there is a fear that a Saolta University Hospital review of A&E services at all of its hospitals could be used as a tool to downgrade the Emergency Department at the hospital. The fear is that it may follow the ‘Roscommon model’ of pressurising a new Health Minister to act quickly.
“Back in 2014 the Department of Health made a submission to the Budget which included a proposal to remove the 24/7 A&E from Portiuncula Hospital. At that time Minister Leo Varadkar gave a guarantee that this would not happen under his watch.
“However, the current review will cause a lot of concern locally and if it were to be implemented not only will patients have further to travel to avail of emergency care but it will push our over-stretched ambulance service beyond breaking point,” concluded Denis Naughten.