Doctors to fight cuts at Nenagh hospital


NORTH TIPPERARY GPs have promised to fight plans by the HSE to downgrade Nenagh hospital in Co Tipperary.

A group of 47 doctors has launched a campaign against plans for numerous cuts, including a proposal to remove 24-hour accident and emergency services at the hospital in favour of the introduction of advance paramedics to partly replace the present service.

GPs have also taken the unprecedented move of distributing leaflets in three local newspapers to highlight their concerns and urge members of the public to attend a rally at the MacDonagh Park GAA complex in Nenagh on January 31st.

In the leaflet, the GPs state that Nenagh hospital will be downgraded to such an extent that it will become a “home for the elderly with some outpatient and daycare facilities”.

They also point out that the services at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital are already “overstretched and overburdened” and have warned that Nenagh will eventually lose surgery, acute cardiac care and intensive care.

These were needed to provide basic adequate immediate medical care if the HSE were allowed to proceed with the recommendations set down in the recently released Teamwork report.

“The plan is being implemented by the HSE-Minister for Health, without further discussion, debate or possible modification,” the doctors stated, adding that there had been little or no consultation with the public, hospital staff or GPs.

They added that there were up to 32 patients on trolleys in Limerick Regional Hospital AE at least once during the past fortnight.

“We cannot countenance any such removal of services from Nenagh when there is no workable alternative for the people of north Tipperary,” the GPs added.

Fine Gael’s spokesman on health Dr James Reilly has urged the people of north Tipperary to take to the streets to ensure the future of services at Nenagh hospital.

Dr Reilly, together with North Tipperary Dáil TD Noel Coonan, met local party representatives this week to discuss their plan of action as HSE preparations to cut 24-hour accident and emergency services at the hospital gather pace.

Dr Reilly also met representatives of the Nenagh Hospital Action Group and the Friends of Nenagh Hospital to listen to their concerns regarding the HSE proposals.

“There are a whole lot of issues here. There are 135 beds [to be provided in Limerick] that are part of the prerequisite for this move to take place,” Dr Reilly said. “On top of that you have the situation where there are supposed to be more ambulances. They are not in place and the paramedics have not been appointed, trained up and ready to start.”

Mr Coonan said he had been informed there were six advance paramedics to start in north Tipperary from January but that only two were in place at the moment with another having completed his training last week . . .

“There is also a situation in relation to a response car. There is a proposal for one car from north Tipperary . . . This thing hasn’t been properly addressed or thought out,” Mr Coonan said.

Dr Reilly accused the HSE of putting the cart before the horse.