Home News Community Decision to move Laois audiology services to Tullamore branded ‘regressive’

Decision to move Laois audiology services to Tullamore branded ‘regressive’

St Fintan's Hospital

Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley has branded the decision to move audiology services from Portlaoise to Tullamore ‘regressive’.

The Laois TD says that this will have a significant effect on the elderly in the county.

This service is expected to move from St Fintan’s in Portlaoise to Tullamore Hospital in early June for a period between six months to two years while the existing building is being renovated.

He said: “While I very much welcome the renovation works to this building at St. Fintan’s but the HSE should have provided another premises in County Laois while these works are ongoing.

“The Audiology service is located in one room and that is what’s required.

“It is mainly elderly people who use this service, and they will now have to travel from places as far away as Vicarstown, Graiguecullen, Errill and Cullohill to name a few.

“Some patients will have a round trip of 100 miles. The only income many of these people have is their old age pension.

“As there is no public transport available in these rural areas these people will have to get a taxi or pay a neighbour to get there.

“Some constituents have already complained to me about the difficulties this will cause.”

Mr Stanley also highlighted the high number of people on the waiting list and expressed his fear that the service may not return to Laois if it goes to Tullamore.

He said: “Currently there is a waiting time of 2 years to receive an appointment in Laois, as there is only 1 part time Audiologist for the county.

“Laois is expanding with a population of 85,000 people.

“Also there is a fear that once the Audiology Service is located in Tullamore it may not return to Laois.

“This is a worry for the people in Laois as there are more and more services being taken from the county.

“I have written to both the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD and the Chief Officer in the HSE to express my concerns about the move.

“I have also sought a guarantee that the service will return once the facilities in St Fintan’s have been completed.”

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.