Health Minister gives assurances that services will be retained

A meeting between local area representatives and Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly took place a couple of weeks ago where it emerged that the Minister gave assurances that health services would be retained for the people of Longford.

A meeting between local area representatives and Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly took place a couple of weeks ago where it emerged that the Minister gave assurances that health services would be retained for the people of Longford.

Town Mayor, Cllr Peggy Nolan (FG) met with Minister Reilly who said that the Midland Regional Hospital, Mullingar would continue with its 24-7 A&E services based on hospitals level 3 status. When asked about the ongoing downgrading of services at St Jospeh’s Care Centre in Longford town, Cllr Nolan said that the Minister gave assurances that there was “no plan” to close the facility. “The closure is not an actual concern,” said Cllr Nolan, adding that it was the reduction in bed capacity from 170 down to 68 that was “worrying”. “HIQUA has approved 74 beds for use at St Joseph’s and I have sought and received support from Minister Reilly to bring the fully approved bed numbers on stream. The question of transport to the Midland Regional Hospital, Tullamore was also posed to the Minister by me and once again he assured me that the issue would be kept on his agenda until an appropriate resolution to the matter was reached.”

Cllr Nolan went on to say that the issue of fluoride in the county’s water supply was one which had been raised time and time again with no solution at hand. “For the first time in 12 years, the issue will now be addressed by Minister Reilly in consultation with the committee advising on fluoride,” she added. “The commitment given by the Minister was positive and leaves me with some hope that this costly and unnecessary practice will cease sooner rather than later.”

According to the local area representative, plans are in place to establish an 8-8 GP led casualty across the Country and a proposal to include Longford in the new configuration of level B/C units was put forward to Minister Reilly during the meeting. “Again the Minister showed his support for the unit at St Joseph’s to continue and particularly when services such as physiotherapy and radiology were taken into account,” Cllr Nolan explained. “The Minister was very supportive of Longford being a location for consideration under the proposed new scheme.”

Cllr Nolan concluded by saying, “The positivity towards Longford and our acute services in Mullingar and Tullamore is welcomed, but in these uncertain times, it remains a time for diligence on my part.”