Why is the HSE costing a daytime-only A&E at Blanchardstown Hospital?

It has come to our attention that the HSE is costing a daytime-only A & E service for Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown. We have received confidential information that this is being done and that a real threat now exists to a 24-hour A&E service at the hospital.

Staffing of the A&E and hospital generally has been run down to intolerable levels. There are now only half the number of Registrar Doctors required for Casualty, with nursing levels pared back and all locum recruitment banned by a formal instruction to hospital management in a threatening letter of 22nd July.

If the HSE is allowed to downgrade to an 8am-8pm A&E, the entire hospital would effectively be downgraded. It would also place huge pressure on the A&E at Mater, Beaumont and other Dublin hospitals, already under strain.

Savage cuts in the order of €20 million have taken place in the hospital’s budgets in recent years. This is in the context of a greatly-increased population in greater Blanchardstown and the wider catchment. Wards and beds have been closed. Nothing more can be skimmed.

We call on the HSE to clarify its plans for Blanchardstown Hospital. We also call on the two Ministers in Dublin West (Joan Burton and Leo Varadkar) to answer on this issue. Joe Higgins TD had been given assurances in the Dail that a 24-hour A&E would be maintained (Ajournment Debate 3 May 2011), but behind-the-scenes acts by the HSE suggest otherwise.

Any attempt to downgrade Blanchardstown Hospital will be resisted by the community who depend on it.