Louth County Councillor Tomás Sharkey has called on Minister varadkar to use his coming visit to Louth County Hospital to learn how and why services need to be restored to that hospital. Councillor Sharkey has learned that Minister varadkar will be in Louth County Hospital on Wednesday 20th. he has requested that, as a member of the HSE’s Regional Health Forum, he and other local representatives be afforded the opportunity to meet the minister.
“Minister Varadkar is welcome to visit Louth County Hospital. As Minister for Health he should make himself aware first hand of all issues in the hospital service. He will visit a newly opened ward of medical beds. I welcomed the plans for this ward some months ago.
“However, Minister Varadkar needs to educate himself of the fact that Louth County Hospital housed an A&E, Intensive Care Unit and Acute Medical wards less than six years ago. He must learn that the crisis in Our Lady of Lourdes is a direct result of the closure of services in Dundalk.
“I want to explain to Minister Varadkar that the small medical ward he will see is no comparison to the 100+ beds that are no longer there. As one of Louth’s representatives on the Regional Health Forum, I want to explain that our Minor Injuries Unit can go to a full 24/7 service and also support a Medical Assessment Unit. These measures will help us plan the reinstatement of full services in Dundalk and bring an end to the crisis in Our Lady of Lourdes.
“The RCSI Hospital Group has informed me that there is not enough space in he hospital building for me, as a public representative on the HSE Forum to attend the Minister’s visit. That is an outrageous cop-out and snub to the public in Louth and especially Dundalk.
“We know that hospital staff are being asked to have their dinner breaks by mid-day to allow for a reception of the Minister in the hospital canteen. I wonder does Minister Varadkar realise that nurses on long shifts will have their daily routine and tat of patients disturbed? I also challenge Minister Varadkar to instruct the RCSI Hospital Group to invite myself and the other Louth representatives on the HSE Regional Health Forum to this event.
Councillor Tomás Sharkey is concerned that families in the Sheelagh and Hackballscross area are being left in the dark about school bus services in September.
“The N53 will be upgraded over the coming months. I am working to convince officials to reverse their decision to close the road during works. In the course of my discussions with council officials I have realised that Bus Éireann and the council have not come to an arrangement as to how school children will travel to and from school during the works.
“I have spoken to a number of families who do not know what to do when it comes to buying bus passes. If the bus cannot run, there is no point buying a pass. If the bus has to take a detour, this may cause children to be late for school or even to have to travel by car to get the bus.
“This is yet another example of how the decision by officials to close the N53 has been badly thought out. Once again, I am calling for a rethink of this bad decision.