Tom Barry TD said: “What is of most concern arising out of Tuesday’s Report is not the standard of care at Mallow General Hospital, but the agenda behind the production of the report in the first place. We had a situation in in the Mid-Western region where the General Hospital in Clare was forced to close its A&E against the wishes of the community. We now have general medical patients – from Clare – lying on trolleys in Limerick Regional Hospital.
“Despite the reassurances from senior HSE officials, there is a justifiable and understandable fear in the community that this is exactly what is going to happen in North Cork. It appears that they are setting the foundations to close Mallow General Hospital, or at least downgrade it to such an extent that it does not operate as a general hospital and does not continue to serve the community in the manner it always has.
“There is little doubt locally as to the standard of care at Mallow General Hospital and there is some merit in the HIQA report in that the focus is on under resourcing and a lack of attention from the HSE centrally – and not on the staff and management at Mallow – who do excellent work. However, both this lack of focus on Mallow from the HSE and the justification for the preparation of this report indicate a worrying future for Mallow General Hospital. The accounts from Mallow have been hidden in the CUH accounts for the last number of years, so we are not even allowed to see the detail of the situation.
“There seems to be a covert operation to remove hospitals the size of Mallow and I will be lobbying Minister James Reilly directly to tackle that policy direction and mindset. Apart at all from the very real concerns that people have about medical emergencies and their distance from CUH; Mallow General Hospital is a huge employer in our area. Not only does it provide great health care, but it also provides significant local employment. “