Mullingar downgrading would put lives at risk: Nolan

The HSE run the risk of endangering patients lives if acute services are removed from Mullingar’s Midland Regional Hospital, a Longford County Councillor has warned.

The HSE run the risk of endangering patients lives if acute services are removed from Mullingar’s Midland Regional Hospital, a Longford County Councillor has warned.

Cllr Peggy Nolan said health chiefs could no longer be trusted to make important decisions governing the future of hospital services, slamming the organisation as “outdated” and in need of immediate dissolution.

The Fine Gael representative and long time health advocate also dismissed recent statements made by the HSE which appeared to lessen fears of a scaleback in frontline services at the Westmeath hospital.

She said the emergence of an internal staff memo, indicating Mullingar was set to be added to a list of ten hospitals due for reconfiguration suggested otherwise.

“There is an ongoing review, that is a fact,” she stated emphatically. “It is a six month review and that is going on and it’s not just in Mullingar. We know there is no money in the country and that there is no money in the health service.

But what this (speculated downgrading of Mullingar) is going to do is create a cross country dash for people to Tullamore. How are people supposed to access those services when there is no road or rail link links in place?”

The dual councillor said she has held talks with local TD James Bannon in recent days with a view to setting up a special meeting between Minister for Health, James Reilly and local representatives at both town and county level.

Interestingly however, Cllr Nolan would not be drawn on whether she would consider resigning from the party should guarantees over the long term future of Mullingar Hospital fail to materialise.

“I am very happy within Fine Gael though I have to see where the party stands (on Mullingar controversy. The way I see it is my duty to keep the public informed and that is what I will keep on doing to the best of my ability,” she said.

One area Mr Reilly and department officials should concentrate much of their focus, she claimed, was on the HSE. “Absolutely,” she replied when asked about whether the organisation had run its course. “It has nothing but faceless bureaucrats making life losing decisions affecting the people that I represent.”