New health areas are not what doctors ordered

We were distressed to learn from the media that our geographically rational, medically successful, and well-thought-out HSE South/Southwest network is to be replaced after a mere six years by one of the six proposed health areas.

New health areas are not what doctors ordered

We were distressed to learn from the media that our geographically rational, medically successful, and well-thought-out HSE South/Southwest network is to be replaced after a mere six years by one of the six proposed health areas.

South Tipperary General Hospital had thrived in the medical and academic network with Cork, but may now be moved to the nonsensical Area C, which stretches over 220km and has a population of 900,000. We are told that this “local” area will enable better resource management and budgetary control.

Anyone looking at the map will see the absurdity of suggesting that Ballyporeen or Ardmore, or indeed Clonmel, is in any way local to Dublin 4, at the northern end of the area.

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, is well-intentioned, but he has received extremely bad advice. This change will disrupt our carefully nurtured medical and teaching links with HSE/S/SW and will not improve patient care or efficiency.

We would ask the minister not to bring this scheme to Cabinet without first hearing the views of the extremely disillusioned frontline workers — medical, nursing, and associated health professionals, etc — in both Tipperary and Cork. Involved people, including patients, with whom I discussed the minister’s proposal for this region, most commonly described it as “daft”.

This letter is written on behalf of all my physician colleagues at Clonmel, but also represents the views of many other health care workers, including management, in Tipperary and Cork.

Prof Paud O’Regan

Consultant physician

South Tipperary General Hospital

This reader's opinion was originally published in the letters page of the Irish Examiner print edition on 24 July 2019.

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