24 May 2007 Edition
Hospital cuts will devastate coronary care in North East
Ó Caoláin was himself a patient in the Coronary Care Unit in Monaghan in February and attributes his full recovery to the care received there from Dr. Brendan MacMahon and his team. Highlighting the proposed closure, Ó Caoláin said the loss of the Coronary Care Unit/High Dependency Unit would deprive almost 400 patients per year of coronary care at Monaghan and put further huge pressure on Cavan General Hospital.
“The Health Service Executive, implementing the disastrous Fianna Fáil/PD Government policy of hospital centralisation, proposes to close the Coronary Care Unit/High Dependency Unit (also known as the High Care Unit) in Monaghan General Hospital in July 2007. As a patient there in February I received excellent care and I attribute my full recovery to the unit which the HSE is now proposing to close”, Ó Caoláin said.
“A total of almost 400 patients were admitted to that unit during 2006; of these approximately 250 were acute cardiac cases. Approximately 10% of acute general admissions require care in High Dependency/Coronary Care Units. The Coronary Care Unit in Monaghan General Hospital was re-equipped and staffed in 2001 following the national implementation of the cardio-vascular strategy. The staffing and equipment level met the national standard”, he said.
“The nursing staff includes several specialist cardiac nurses. The consultant staff includes in its number a fully trained cardiologist. The HSE has not conducted an audit to support a suggestion that patient care in the Coronary Care Unit in Monaghan General Hospital is not of the highest standard or that a higher standard of care exists elsewhere in the North East. The proposed closure of the Coronary Care/High Dependency Unit will inevitably lead to the cessation of acute medical admissions”, he said.
Cavan Hospital overstretched
Ó Caoláin pointed out that there are approximately 3,000 acute general medical admissions to Monaghan General Hospital annually. It is proposed that these be transferred to Cavan General Hospital. He said that Cavan General Hospital was already overstretched with 180% bed occupancy in the medical department. It was unlikely that the proposed increase in medical bed numbers in Cavan General Hospital will address that deficit, let alone provide facilities for 3,000 acute general admissions from Monaghan.
“Scrutiny of the Teamwork Implementation document, which we revealed last week, suggests that such reductions in bed numbers requires restrictions of patient access to acute medical facilities. It is likely, therefore, that this restriction will apply particularly to the elderly population”, Ó Caoláin said.
“Monaghan General Hospital was last taken ‘off call’ on 4 July 2002. For the period that the hospital was off call there were several well-publicised cases where patient care was compromised. I firmly believe that, given increasing population and increasing demand for acute medical care, such incidents will recur in even greater numbers, if the hospital is again taken off call.
“This is a recipe for further tragedy. Determined resistance to the cuts proposed for July this year is the only possible response and I urge people to unite in opposition to this plan and in support of Monaghan General Hospital and all its services”, said the Cavan/Monaghan TD.