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Health Minister urged to 'come clean over secret plan for more cuts'

Billy Kelleher has called the prospect of downgrading of Waterford Regional Hospital “extremely worrying” and asked James Reilly to immediately clarify plans for the facility.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

FIANNA FÁIL’S SPOKESPERSON on Health Billy Kelleher has called on Health Minister James Reilly to “come clean on a secret plan” to implement further cuts to hospital services across the country.

Kelleher said that, in the weeks leading up to last year’s Budget, Reilly had been the figure to feature most prominently in pre-budget leaks about the cuts facing the health sector and measures being undertaken to limit the impact on patients. “Now, after a disastrous performance in managing the budget for this year, the process seems to be in train again,” he said.

“Reports of further hospital services being withdrawn across the country will cause huge fear in communities and require clarity from Minister Reilly,” he added.

In particular, Kelleher drew attention to proposals to downgrade Waterford Regional Hospital – calling such a prospect “extremely worrying”:

Serving a population of 500,000, WRH plays a pivotal and leading role in health care in the Southeast.

Minister Reilly must immediately clarify if Waterford Regional Hospital is to be downgraded to a county hospital, with services possibly moving to Kilkenny, or if it will remain as the main medical hub for the south east region.

He condemned “unnecessary leaks which serve only to strike fear into communities on a issue as sensitive as health care” and accused the Minister of applying a dysfunctional approach to running the Department of Health.

He called on Minister Reilly to clarify in the Dáil this week if further cuts to hospital services are being planned, what hospitals are concerned, and what consultation process he is putting in place before any such changes are made.

“Clarity, openness and transparency are the least that people should expect from this Government – it’s what they were promised,” he said.

Read: Proposals to downgrade Waterford Regional Hospital to county status announced>

Read: Aer Arann announces termination of Waterford Airport service>

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