If Portiuncula A&E goes, Naughten must go – Fitzmaurice

Emergency trauma services are to be permanently axed from Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, according to the Sunday Business Post.

  The newspaper reported that, under new plans being drawn up, nine hospitals around the country would no longer treat patients who have been in c2ar crashes, had serious falls, head injuries, broken limbs or major wounds.

  Such a report is being prepared by the Trauma Steering Group, the Post said, which is charged with developing a policy for a national trauma network.

  The Portiuncula facility was one of the hospitals on the ‘hit list’.

  Local politicians have pledged to oppose any such plans.

  Denis Naughten, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, said that any proposal for the closure of the Emergency Department in Ballinasloe would not be tolerated.

  “This issue also arose during the talks on the formation of a government,” he said.

  “I was given specific assurance that there would be no downgrading of the A&E and I have reiterated this to the new Minister for Health, Simon Harris.”

  Similarly, Michael Fitzmaurice, an Independent TD, also said that he would not tolerare a downgrade of the facility.

  “Local ministers should be prepared to resign from Government if that ever became a reality,” he said.

  “It was agreed at the talks on the programme for government that there would be no threat to the A&E services at Portiuncula and I expect that the Government will stick to that agreement.”

  Senator Maura Hopkins, of Fine Gael, said that she had also been in contact with Minister Harris and received assurances.

  “The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, which represents all surgeons in the country, asked that a review take place at their last AGM examining management of trauma injuries in our hospitals – for example, a severe head injury,” Senator Hopkins said.

  She said that Leo Varadkar, the former Minister for Health, agreed to this request and established the Trauma Steering Group to examine the issue.

  She said that the group’s report would probably not be presented to Minister Harris until the end of the year.

  “There are no plans to remove A&E services from Portiuncula Hospital,” Senator Hopkins added.