GPs demand to know complaint that sparked inquiry

MALLOW GPs have demanded to know the nature of the complaint which has initiated an investigation into Mallow General Hospital (MGH).

Dr Patrick O’Riordan, a GP in the town for 35 years, has formally written to HIQA (Health Information and Quality Auhority) requesting information about the complaint regarding patient care. He said, in his experience, care provided at the hospital is “exceptional”.

Dr O’Riordan’s request was backed by another GP in the town, Dr Billy Christopher.

Dr Christopher said people were entitled to know what the complaint was, and who made it.

He said he was worried the investigation was a political move to try to close Mallow hospital.

“I believe the HSE does not want the hospital to remain open. There are a whole lot of hidden agendas, and the powers that be want everything moved to Cork.”

Dr Christopher said Cork University Hospital could not cope with what it had already, and surgery such as gall bladders and kidneys should remain at MGH, while highly specialised procedures should be centralised.

However, he said he believed the HSE wanted to go further and get rid of Mallow altogether.

“There was a perfectly good breast clinic at the South Infirmary and they closed it and moved it CUH. There were four obstetrics services in Cork, now CUH has the monopoly. When things are not broken they should not be fixed.”

Dr Christopher said ambulances were going to be taken from Mallow and based in Cork as part of reconfiguration of services: “What does reconfiguration mean? How can you have an emergency department without an ambulance? This is all about incredibly bad management. The health system is worse than it ever was and getting worse. It is beyond repair.”

Dr Tom O’Callaghan, a Mitchelstown GP said, however, it was scare-mongering to suggest downgrading Mallow was going to happen as part of reconfiguration: “There is no doubt some services will move from Mallow, but others will be brought to the hospital... It does not make sense to have very specialised services in local areas.

“And where there is not the capacity for some services centrally, they will be brought to the communities that need them.”

Dr O’Callaghan said the level of care at MGH was very high and it was his understanding that problems were management issues and not clinical.

Millstreet GP Dr Michael Casey questioned the motives behind the investigation: “I am a senior GP in the area and have worked for 45 years and always referred patients to Mallow and they have always been more than satisfied with the service.

“Furthermore, I have been a patient there myself and so have members of my family and we have been very satisfied.

“I wonder if this is a back door message, certain agreements were made around reconfiguration, that some services would transfer to Cork but that emergency services would be kept at MGH.”

Dr Casey said emergency services were vital for the large rural areas around Mallow.


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