With the 2020 General Election now less than two weeks away, Laois-Offaly TD and Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has said that he has received assurances from his Health colleague Simon Harris that services at the Midlands Regional Hospital will be safe if Fine Gael are in power for a third consecutive term.
Threats to the future of services at the hospital have hung over it for some time.
“Earlier today I received a letter from the Minister for Health, Simon Harris,” said Minister Flanagan in statement this evening.
“I am happy to report that it reiterates his commitment to services at the Midlands Regional Hospital, Portlaoise,” he added.
“He has absolutely confirmed that if Fine Gael are returned to Government, there are no plans and will be no plans to reduce capacity in the Hospital.
“This restates the commitment I have already given.
“As both TD for this area and Minister for Justice & Equality, I have worked really hard for Midlands Regionals Hospital Portlaoise, which remains my number one priority. I have secured additional investment such as:
- The 2019 budget for the Hospital is €64.8m, representing a 44% increase relative to the 2012 budget of €44.9m.
- The increase principally supported additional clinical staff; in September 2019 there were 752 whole time equivalent (WTE) positions, an increase of approx. 35% from the 2014 base of 552 WTEs.
- The new Medical Assessment Unit and Day Ward unit opened in Jan 2019. This development was funded with a €7 million capital investment and additional revenue for medical and nursing staff.
- Link corridor ‘Hospital Street’ (from AMAU to Emergency Department) with an investment of €900,000 opened.
“I am delighted that the letter I received today from the Minister for Health absolutely confirms the assurance he gave me before Christmas that the proposed reconfiguration of services was now overtaken by Slaintecare and there would be no reduction in capacity.