Political expediency and patient safety

A chara, – I agree with the sentiments expressed by Patrick Broe on political expediency and patient safety (Letters, July 9th). Which is wonderful if you live within striking distance of a major centre that is equipped to deal with the demands of the region.

Since the centralisation of acute services in University Hospital Limerick, we in the hinterlands of the mid-western region are left sorely bereft of adequate care given and are dependent on a major centre that continually tops the lists of most overcrowded hospital in the country and has never been equipped to meet the demands of this region.

If readers are in any doubt, may I refer them to the experience of John Keogh on spending eight days on a trolley on University Hospital Limerick (Health and+ Family, July 9th). – Yours, etc,




Co Clare.

Sir, – The letter from Patrick Broe correctly outlines the problems faced by smaller country hospitals that cannot provide a full range of services and, even if they could, those hospitals would not have a sufficient volume of work to maintain skills at optimal levels. Therefore significant restructuring of the hospital networks is necessary. This was pointed out in the 2001 Hanly report and in the Fitzgerald report in 1968, the recommendations of both of which were largely shelved.

However, Dr Broe’s letter is perhaps a little Dublin-centric as he omits to mention that Dublin hospitals need restructuring also. Just like country people, Dubliners like to have hospital services on their doorstep, and they don’t want to cross the river Liffey to access them. Thus there is significant duplication of services, especially cancer and surgical services, north and south of the river, as well as between east and west Dublin.

Reorganisation of hospital services would save money and provide higher-quality care. It needs to be carried out by a Minister for Health brave enough to risk his government’s unpopularity at the ballot box. We have yet to find such a Minister, and so we will pay the price indefinitely. – Yours, etc,



Co Wexford.