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THE controversy over the expected opening of the recently-built community hospital at Dingle came as no surprise to me.
For many years a district hospital served the town and its catchment area. It operated under the control of a health authority which consisted not only of the Department of Health, but also of members of Kerry county council, of which I was a member.
When a serious problem arose, it was a matter for the county health authority and the Department of Health to enter into discussions and, within a short time, a satisfactory decision was arrived at. The site for the new hospital was acquired without a problem and there was no objection to planning permission being granted.
In addition, the state provided €16 million funding. Why then has the opening being postponed?
Will the new community hospital provide the same services as the old district hospital? The district hospital served the Dingle peninsula from its tip back to Keel and Derrymore bridge and only emergency cases needed to be taken outside this area. What is the catchment area for the community hospital? We have not been told. Also, when the new hospital is opened, what is going to happen to the old building?
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