By Councillor Mick Barry
The HSE are planning to remove all orthopaedic services from St Mary’s Orthopaedic Hospital in Cork, before the end of the year.
This means effectively closing the hospital and would represent a massive blow to the Northside of the city, one of the most serious blows since the closure of the North Infirmary in the 1980s.
A feasibility study on the move is due to be published in April.
The HSE have plans to put a nursing home on the St Mary’s lands and talk in terms of bringing in primary healthcare facilities but they can bluff and bluster all they like – if you take all the orthopaedic services out of an orthopaedic hospital you are downgrading the hospital to the point of closure.
The HSE have opened negotiations with City Manager, Joe Gavin, about providing lands at St Mary’s for town centre facilities for Knocknaheeny/ Gurranabraher.
Socialist Party councillor, Mick Barry, has submitted a motion for the next meeting of Cork City Council (Apr 12) which reads: “Council instructs the City Manager to immediately break off negotiations with the HSE on the use of lands at St Mary’s Orthopaedic Hospital, Gurranabraher, for town centre facilities. Council believes that HSE lands should be used for the provision of public health service facilities only and that health services should be expanded at St Mary’s.”
Government politicians must not be allowed hide behind the HSE on this issue. Fianna Fail TDs’ Noel O’Flynn and Billy Kelleher, must be put under massive pressure to have this move reversed.
These TDs cannot stand idly by while the HSE dismantles a Northside hospital and expect to win thousands of Northside votes when a general election comes along.
However, the workers must rely on their own strength rather than on politicians to resist these changes. A united campaign involving nurses, office staff and other workers, winning the support of the working class communities on the Northside can defeat this threat to the hospital.