Longford Westmeath Labour candidate Mae Sexton said that Longford people must take action to ensure that their elected representatives voice concerns within the county about the continuation of services at St Joseph’s Hospital in Longford.
Cllr Sexton said that in the last two years bed numbers in the care centre have dropped and that there has been a significant reduction in services.
Although the HSE has previously claimed that there is no decision or implementation plan being developed to close any service at St Joseph’s Hospital in Longford town Mae Sexton said that an analysis of the way that the services have been downgraded would run contrary to this statement.
“They have said that the provision of services is consistently under review within the Health Services Executive based on ongoing operational issues. If they are going to use such reviews and what they describe as ‘emerging staffing issues’ as a means of closing St Joseph’s by stealth then they will meet with the anger of all Longford people.”
Cllr Sexton said reassurances that services such as the Treatment Centre are continuing deflect from the fact that the number of services available in St Joseph’s is in decline.
The Longford Westmeath Labour candidate said that promises of short term security for St Joseph’s is not enough: “We need an unequivocal commitment that Longford is guaranteed to retain the services available in St Joseph’s. The staff there is second to none and quality of the service top class. I believe that there is an intention on the part of the HSE to use the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) – the government group set up to improve our heath care - to downgrade St Joseph’s. I will not allow that to happen.”
Mae Sexton said that the people must take action: “Any attack on the provision of services from St Joseph’s must be met head on. I have the energy to fight for this essential service for Longford. Longford has summered more in the last few years than we benefited in the good times. It is time that our public representatives did a little more than talk about what we need and started delivering.”
Cllr Sexton said that with the help of her party she will work hard to ensure that Longford retains this essential service.