Blunders being used to close local hospitals – HAC

Cancer blunders are being used by the HSE as a pretext to close the country’s second level hospitals, according to Una Ní Chuinn of Roscommon Hospital Action Committee. Ms. Ní Chuinn noted that Peadar McMahon, Chairman of the Health Services Action Group (HSAG), said: ‘Brendan Drumm talks about accountability, yet refuses to take responsibility for what happened in Portlaoise Hospital.’ ‘These clinical botches that happened in one hospital, in one department, are now being used, shamelessly, to vilify smaller hospitals all over the country’, he continued. ‘His inference that all smaller hospitals are dangerous to patients is grossly insulting to the corps of excellent and dedicated staff who man these institutions. The quality of care in any hospital depends hugely on the quality of its professional staff,’ Peadar McMahon says. There is a blatant double standard at work here, Una Ni Chuinn of the Roscommon Hospital Action Group points out. ‘Brendan Drumm’s blatant jumping from the particular to the general is agenda-driven. He has taken a string of clinical blunders in Portlaoise Hospital as a pretext to shut down an entire sector–the country’s general or second level hospitals. ‘Exactly the same clinical blunder was made in major teaching hospitals in Galway and in Cork,’ she continues. ‘HSE drew a veil over these as quickly as possible, because they undermined the HSE theology of ‘centres of excellence’. ‘Brendan Drumm was careful not to impugn the north-east’s regional hospital when the Neary scandal broke,’ Una Ni Chuinn says. ‘It later emerged, after the Harding Clarke Inquiry had concluded, that up to up to 200 women had been mutilated in the obstetrics department of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. Yet, in the wake of the second biggest scandal in the history of the state, no calls were made for the maternity service to be terminated, let alone for the hospital to close. ‘When staff blunder in a major teaching hospital, HSE seeks to minimise it, but when the same botch happens in a smaller hospital, it is used as a pretext to close down the entire service,’ Peadar McMahon observes. ‘In this case, Brendan Drumm is seeking, not only to close down Portlaoise Hospital, but to shut smaller hospitals all over the country.’