Louth MIU expansion in Jeopardy – Adams

Sinn Fein TD for Louth Gerry Adams has said that he is gravely concerned following confirmation from the HSE that commitments to expand the service provided by the Minor Injuries Unit at Louth County Hospital Dundalk are now in jeopardy.

The Louth TD said;

“Simon Harris came to Dundalk in November 2017 and announced that by February 2018 the Minor Injuries Unit at the Louth Hospital would begin seeing additional paediatric patients by reducing the current age threshold of 14 years old to 5 years old.

“In January I submitted a parliamentary question regarding the progress of this development and in response the RCSI Hospital Group, which runs health facilities in Louth, Meath and North Dublin, said: ‘It is envisaged that the Local Injuries Unit at the Louth County Hospital will be in a position to start seeing patients over five years of age with minor injuries in Quarter 2 2018. This change in practice remains dependent on staffing and appropriate staff mix’

“I submitted a further parliamentary question this month and the RCSI Hospital Group now tell me that the agreed start time for this service will be delayed due to ‘unanticipated resignations.’

“Furthermore the response goes on to state that ‘while the Louth Hospitals continue to endeavour to recruit the compliment of staff that is required to establish a safe level of service, they are not in a position to provide an updated time frame at this time.’

Cllr Anne Campbell

“From these responses it is clear to me that there is a real threat that this expanded service for those over 5 years old may never become operational.

“I am shocked that the Minister for Health would make such a grand announcement without any of the necessary ground work being complete.

“I have asked the Minister for Health what recruitment campaign has been undertaken to ensure that the staff are in place to operate this service and I urge him to honour the commitments he has made to Dundalk.


“My colleague councillor Anne Campbell will also be raising this matter at the next meeting of the Dublin North East Regional Health Forum, at which representatives of the RCSI Hospital Group will be present.”

200 children per week left without local dental service – Imelda Munster TD

Imelda Munster white coatSinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath, Imelda Munster, raised the matter of the complete lack of dental services for primary school children in Drogheda and South Louth in the Dáil this week. Since the New Year there have been no dental clinics in operation in the area. A service is not expected to resume before June of this year, when a new clinic is due to open in the Boyne centre in Drogheda, leaving 200 primary school children per week without a local service for the next six months.

Deputy Munster:

“Upwards of 4,800 children will be left without a service locally over the next six months, since the surgeries in the Haymarket Clinic in Drogheda were closed, and the other two clinics in Ballsgrove were closed due to fire damage.”

“Primary school children are currently being referred to the Louth County Hospital in Dundalk, and to other clinics in Duleek, Ardee and Navan which is causing significant delays, disruption and gross inconvenience for children and their parents.”

Deputy Munster suggested that a mobile dental unit might be a practical solution in the short term, however Minister for State Helen McEntee, who was taking questions on behalf of the Minister for Health Simon Harris, said that this will not be possible for health and safety reasons, despite their use being widespread in England.

Deputy Munster:

“The Department’s response to my call for a mobile unit is not correct. I can only assume the Department does not want the bother or inconvenience of providing a mobile unit to cater for these children.”

Deputy Munster also asked if, in the absence of a mobile unit, a HSE-run hourly shuttle bus might be brought into use to assist families with their travel needs, as they are now obliged to travel to Dundalk, Navan and Ardee.

The Minister of State did not give a commitment on this matter, other than to say the potential for minibus transfer for patients with lack of access to transport is being explored by the HSE and that Deputy Munster can expect an update by the end of this month.

Deputy Munster:

“This situation is unacceptable. I expect the Minister to get back to me on this at the earliest opportunity. Children in Drogheda and South Louth can’t be left without a local dental service.”

Primary care services cut to the bone as Minister justifies overspend

imelda photo orangeSinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath, Imelda Munster asked questions this week in the Dáil about HSE plans to cut primary care services in the Louth-Meath area, and the news that the HSE has instructed management in the health service to save €1.5 million by way of staffing cuts between now and the end of the year.

She asked Minister for State Catherine Byrne, who was standing in for Minister for Health Simon Harris who was otherwise engaged, if the Minister would reverse this cut of €1.5million, given existing pressures on the services in Louth and Meath.

Deputy Munster:

“These measures will lead to serious cutbacks in services provided by occupational therapists, physiotherapists, public health nurses and, in particular, home help support staff. Last Friday week the HSE called a meeting at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Louth at which it informed management there that the contracts of nine full-time clerical and administrative staff and one part-time clerical worker were to be terminated with immediate effect. It beggars belief that at a time when we are seeing services, especially primary care services, cut to the bone, further cuts are being made just as we come into the winter months. That is totally unacceptable and amounts to neglect of patient care.”

The Minister’s response was that the 1.5million was an overspend.

Deputy Munster:

“How can you have overspend when services are already cut to the bone. How can the Minister justify this? It’s bordering on neglect of patient care.”

Munster – Services Suffer Amid Government Spin

Imelda Photo WhiteSinn Fein Councillor Imelda Munster has called on local government TD’s to “explain to the people, why local authorities are being starved of funding by central government.”

Councillor Munster expressed her anger at the Drogheda Municipal meeting having been told by the County Manager that the local authority income for 2016 will be at the same level as 2015. This leaves the council with only one option to fund roads; to take the funds from development levies.

An incensed Councillor Munster said today, “we are constantly listening to pre-election spin from this government telling us we are in a recovery, they use lovely sound bites like ‘green shoots’ and ‘turning a corner’, and yet the most basic of services that should be provided by a local authority are cut to the bone and now we learn that this same austerity is set to continue in to 2016.

Cllr Munster, who was selected as a candidate for Sinn Féin in the upcoming election said “Roads maintenance, housing adaptation grants for the elderly, the worst ever housing crisis locally, road safety measures and even road gritting during the winter months are all set to continue to be starved of funding in Louth”.

“Taxpayers are paying taxes and assume they are being put into these basic services. That is not the case. Instead, our taxes such as motor tax, are pumped into Irish Water in a desperate attempt to keep that quango afloat and it is at the expense of local services provision”.

Cllr Munster questioned once again “what services, if any, do we get for the taxes we are expected to pay?  We have Local Property Tax, Universal Social Charge, Motor Tax, PAYE, PRSI and Water Tax to name a few. What are we getting in return?”

“To be told again, for the fifth year in a row heading into 2016, that we still face a situation where funding for local public services is not a priority for this government really speaks volumes for their lack of commitment to reinstate the most basic of local services and their total disregard for the ordinary man and woman and it begs the question “Who is this so called recovery for? The people of Louth are certainly not seeing the benefit of it”.

“I am now calling on Government TD’s here in Louth to explain to the local people why they are taking their money and not giving anything in return.”

Sharkey Gives Guarded Welcome To Ophthalmology Services At Louth County Hospital

Tomas Sharkey PhotoSinn Féin Louth County Councillor and member of the Regional Health Forum Tomás Sharkey has given a guarded welcome to the information he has received from Margaret Swords, Group Manager – Louth /Meath Hospital Group in relation to the CAWT Ophthalmology project at Louth County Hospital.
Cllr Sharkey has said “Following representations from constituents who are awaiting cataract surgery I once again contacted Margaret Swords, Louth/Meath Hospital Group Manager, for an update on the provision of long promised Ophthalmology services at Louth County Hospital.
“I am giving a guarded welcome to the news in her response that Cataract and other Eye Surgery in Louth County Hospital will commence this month (September). The Ophthalmology service is a cross border initiative supported by CAWT.  There are many people, especially older people, who, I hope, will benefit greatly from this service at their local hospital now that staff and equipment are in place”