St Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown – Services to close?

Loughlinstown Hospital facing closure of services

Loughlinstown Hospital facing closure of services

There have been calls on Health Minister James Reilly to clarify the Government’s position on the future of services at St Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown.
It had been suggested that the 24-hour Accident and Emergency unit would close and the hospital would only operate a daytime minor injury service.
The Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) warned that any attempt to transfer A&E services from Loughlinstown Hospital would have serious consequences for the quality of patient care.
It was pointed out that those who currently live in the catchment area of St Columcille’s would have to travel to the nearest A&E department at St Vincent’s Hospital.
In February, the HSE told the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) in a report that it planned to remove 24-hour emergency services from St Columcille’s Hospital in Loughlinstown later this year.
 The Government and the HSE both denied claims made in recent media reports about the future of the A&E department at St Columcille’s.
In an adjournment debate in the Dail on Thursday (June 16) Deputy Brian Hayes (FG), speaking on behalf of Minister Reilly, said: “There is no plan to cease any of the current services at St Columcille’s Hospital.
“However, the configuration of services is constantly reviewed and from time to time rearranged to improve access and quality of service and minimise risk to patients.”
In a statement the HSE added: “There is no date set with regard to the cessation of any current services at St Columcille’s Hospital.”
Phillip McAnely is the representative for the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) at Loughlinstown Hospital.
He did not believe that St Vincent’s Hospital would have the capacity to deal with the transfer of patients from St Colmcille’s Hospital if the A&E department in Loughlinstown closed.
“I want the Minister for Health and the HSE to review the decision to close the Accident and Emergency department at the hospital,” he said.
“Closing a busy A&E department and winding down services to transfer them to another A&E department – where over 60 people were waiting in its A&E department this week and regularly has 40 people waiting – just doesn’t make any sense. This does nothing to help health service reform.
“The loser in this has to be the patient,” he added. “Anyone who shows up at an emergency department needs emergency attention. Already the wait time for patients at St Vincent’s is unacceptable.”
Stephen McMahon, the CEO of the Irish Patients’ Association, criticised the HSE’s handling of the issue and said that it should consult with patients and local communities around the country on the downgrading of services at smaller hospitals.
“You can’t just transfer large volumes of patients from one hospital to another without making sure that they have the resources,” he said.
Cllr Denis O’Callaghan (Lab) tabled an emergency motion on the issue at the Dublin Mid Leinster HSE health forum meeting last week. His motion opposed any proposal to close the A&E at St Columcille’s.
In response to the motion, a HSE official said in a written reply that at this juncture no final decision had been taken with regard to the future of Emergency Department Services at St Columcille’s Hospital.
Meanwhile, Richard Boyd Barrett of People Before Profit warned that he would mobilise local support to campaign against any move to close the A&E department at St Columcille’s.
“Four years ago the people of Dun Laoghaire and surrounding areas marched and petitioned to keep St Michael’s Hospital open,” he said. “This pressure worked and we kept our hospital in Dun Laoghaire. We are going to have to do the same again to ensure that we keep the current services in Loughlinstown.”
There was nobody available at the Department of Health to comment

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