Nothing goes to the core of an Irish community more than the delivery of health care. Rarely is the health service out of the news. In the 80’s Fianna Fail shut many hospitals and the future of Wexford hung in the balance. That was until Brendan Howlin became a minister in 1992. In the new General Hospital facilities were greatly improved. However the advent of licensing for hospitals and changes in working time directives for doctors means that there is a growing pressure to change the hospital model for service delivery.
League tables of performance are the other side of waiting lists as the Irish love of medicine for profit and the consultant follows the money sees an inequity in access and outcomes in what is still one of the wealthiest countries in the world. So it was with a smile on my face that I left Wexford General Hospital last Friday. The occasion was the launch of the new CAT scanner which is one of only 4 in the country that will assess soft tissue in 64 different views! Not since the birth of my last child have I left the hospital in better form.
The reason? Brendan Howlin had once more done the impossible. He had saved the local hospital by announcing the injection of €20M into the hospital. The money will see extra beds for Accident and Emergency as well as a new maternity wing. This effectively secures the future of the hospital and allows the hospital do what it should be doing namely get on with providing first class health care to the people of Wexford.
As I pointed out to hospital management when staff are hit by salary cuts as well as lay offs the least that they should be entitled to is that hospital’s future is secured. It puts to bed the issue of the hospitals future and there are clear time lines. Tenders to be advertised and breaking ground by Autumn on a 30 month building project that will be opened in early 2014. Fair play to Brendan Howlin, he gave the commitment during the election to save the hospital and now he has delivered.