A NEW line of communication regarding the future of Bantry General Hospital has been opened up with the HSE, according to the Fianna Fáil TD, Christopher O’Sullivan.
However, Deputy O’Sullivan said a meeting with Gerry O’Dwyer, the CEO of the South/South West Hospital Group in Cork on Tuesday evening, did not produce the assurances that are needed regarding the hospital’s acute emergency service.
Deputy O’Sullivan – as well as representatives of a new group calling itself Together For Bantry Hospital – stressed the need to preserve the hospital’s 24/7 acute emergency access, saying: ‘It is priority for the people of West Cork.’
The loss of such a service would, he added, put the ambulance service under enormous pressure because the hospital doors would effectively be closed from 5pm.
Deputy O’Sullivan said it would also have disastrous consequences for an already over-crowded emergency department at CUH.
‘Lives will be lost if this service is not safeguarded,’ said the TD, who praised the people of West Cork for coming out in vast numbers and showing their support for Bantry Hospital at various public meetings, including the meeting in Skibbereen last Thursday, and Bantry last Friday.
Deputy O’Sullivan made the point that the 24/7 acute emergency ac11cess is underpinned by the provision of an anaesthetist on 24-hr call.
He said there’s a fear that this cover will not be there in the next 12 to 18 months, due to retirement, and he called on the HSE to advertise for a second anaesthetist straight away.