‘Hospital appointments do not conflict with Hanly Report’

TWENTY-four-hour medical cover meant patients with heart attacks, spinal or head injuries, and accident victims will be stabilised in hospitals like Nenagh and Ennis before transfer to major trauma centres in Cork and Limerick, sais Health Minister Micheál Martin yesterday.

Mr Martin was attempting to clarify confusion that arose when the Mid-Western Health Board announced it was appointing eight new doctors to their accident and emergency units, a move that seemed to conflict with the Hanly Report, which said, ultimately, there should be no round-the-clock cover in these hospitals.

"The guy in Loop Head will still have a problem but what Hanly is saying is the next time an ambulance is called that it will have far better equipment and personnel to deal with emergencies, the system will be better," he said.

Mr Martin rejected the claim that the appointment of the doctors to the Ennis and Nenagh A&E departments on a two-year contract was a rejection of the Hanly Report.

"When Hanly is implemented, smaller hospitals will not lose what they have at the moment and my understanding is they could gain, with more specialists on call," he said.

One of the first building blocks of the Hanly Report is to upgrade the ambulance service to allow the personnel administer drugs and have better equipment.

Mr Martin rejected claims by David Hanly, author of the report on hospital re-organisation, that "all sorts of politics" was being played with his report.

"All commentators have accused Fianna Fáil of being political about this, but Labour has been exploiting Hanly on the ground to voters for their candidates," Mr Martin said.

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