Doctor: Lack of investment in hospital puts patients at risk

A DOCTOR in north Cork said he cannot guarantee the safety of his patients because of a lack of investment in Mallow General Hospital.

Dr Bertie Daly, from Newmarket, said the policy to centralise care at major centres like Cork University Hospital had severely impacted on his patients.

“I have to admit, because of the treatment of Mallow General Hospital, I can no longer deliver a safe and effective level of care. And the hospital is one of only a number of cascading factors affecting the delivery of services in these areas.

“Only 5% of patients at a GP surgery are referred-on but they have urgent care needs and now we have placed obstacles in their way by moving services away from secondary hospitals,” Dr Daly said.

He was speaking during a motion at the Irish Medical Organisation’s annual conference in Killarney calling on Health Minister Mary Harney and the Health Service Executive to retain services in secondary hospitals until an alternative was in place which was proven to be better.

The motion, by Dr David Moloney, chairman of the IMO’s North Cork GP branch was passed.

Earlier, Mayo GP Dr Eleanor Fitzgerald called for the suspension of the policy to promote centres of excellence in cancer care until they were proven to be successful.

She earned the organisation’s backing to campaign for the cancer units in Mayo General and Sligo Regional Hospital to be retained.

Dr Fitzgerald also said statements from Sligo Regional Hospital supporting centres of excellence was made without consulting doctors.

Separately, delegates backed a call by Dr Joe Barry to include “don’t drink and drive” warnings on all alcohol products.

He also earned the backing of the organisation to deplore the decision of the Government not to reduce the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers.

Meanwhile, the final draft of the new hospital consultants’ contract was delivered to late last night.

However, after reading the revised document, the IMO’s Industrial relations director Fintan Hourihan said “categorically” it would not be putting the agreement to its members this weekend.

He said there were still outstanding issues with the document.

“Some progress has been made and the issues are narrowing. But there will be more discussion.”

The document was prepared by the HSE Employers’ Agency on the very day it was criticised by the IMO for dragging its heels.

The IMO consultants’ committee will consider the proposals today. The general membership will discuss it in a closed session on Saturday.

The Irish Hospital Consultants’ Association said it would consider the final draft on Saturday before putting it to a general ballot.

Yesterday, Ms Harney denied there was any delay on behalf of the employers and said the money was waiting to be released when the recruitment process began.

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