Cllr Peggy Nolan, standing outside St Joseph's Care Centre
The state of County Longford’s eyecare provision has come under the spotlight once again this week amid claims patients would have to put up with a “sketchy service” for the next six months.
Those claims, made by Cllr Peggy Nolan, were ones which come on the back of ongoing efforts by HSE management to provide maternity cover for the county’s current opthamologist.
In an article carried by the Leader four weeks ago, HSE officials revealed interviews were being held, but warned “a problem” would remain with locum cover should the present stand-in be successful.
Cllr Nolan said she had since received assurances over the county’s ophthalmology service in recent days with a caveat nonetheless that deliverance levels would remain “sketchy” for the next six months.
“This, to me, is quite unacceptable,” she seethed, saying the issue now needed to be addressed by Health Minister Simon Harris directly.
“That’s what I am calling for-ministerial intervention. Can you, for instance, imagine our children coming out of school and having to travel to Athlone, never mind the impact that it would also have on those from St Christopher’s and the elderly.”
Cllr Nolan said even with the HSE’s undertaking over Longford’s ophthalmology service questions relating to staffing levels had yet to be fully answered.
The Fine Gael councillor also said she was even contemplating taking her campaign to the streets in a bid to ensure services at St Joseph’s Care Centre remain in place.
“I am calling for the budgets for Mullingar Hospital includes extra funding so that the opthalmic service that is serving the people of Longford so well remains,” she said.
Cllr Nolan added the situation merited continued political lobbying, stressing pressure from the wider public was also required.
“The people of Longford need to wake up because this is holiday season and is the time when the HSE can use slight of hand to remove services,” she said.
The Leader has made attempts to procure a response from the HSE but at the time of writing, no statement had been issued.