The ongoing fight to restore the five day nurse-led day hospital service in St. Patrick's Hospital, Carrick-on-Shannon has now become a hot election issue.
A well attended public meeting in The Bush Hotel last Thursday evening heard calls for candidates in the general election to make this a “red line issue.”
Eleven of the 18 candidates in this constituency, and one from a neighbouring constituency, were present to air their views on the current impasse between the Friends of St. Patrick's committee and the HSE.
Dr. Kieran Greene said the committee feels that a return to the nurse led service is essential. He urged the HSE to listen to the concerns of the service users, their carers and the local health care professionals.
Dr. Greene said there is unequivocal agreement that the nurse led facility “offers an invaluable contribution to the safe, integrated and cost effective delivery of primary care service in rural Co. Leitrim.”
There was a sense of frustration at the meeting in the manner the committee is being treated by HSE management.
Liam Scollan, committee member, said they have written to the HSE, addressing 12 questions in relation to funding and resources at St. Patrick's Hospital.
“We didn't get one single reply to any of those questions we sent,” he said. “That is the sort of stonewalling we have had to deal with from the HSE,” he added.
Joe Flynn, who chaired the meeting, said that after being stonewalled by the HSE, the committee now felt it was time to make it a political issue.
See pages 2-5 for a full report.