::: As published on May 22
Fine Gael TD John Deasy says senior consultants at Ardkeen have questions to answer as to why, having spearheaded a public campaign for the retention of the South East Hospital Group, they dramatically changed tack mid-campaign and entered into negotiations that ultimately led to Waterford being linked to Cork University Hospital.
Last November, a week before they met with organisers of what became the ‘Save Waterford’ campaign, Waterford Today published a front-page story in which Deputy Deasy warned it was “time people began questioning the individuals who are responsible for representing WRH.”
He did so having arranged meetings between specialists at Ardkeen, senior HSE officials, and government TDs from the region – only to find “the performance of these senior consultants was underwhelming to say the least.
“They are the ones who needed to make the argument based on medical best practice and they failed miserably. In my opinion others from the regional hospital need to step in immediately to rescue this situation before it’s too late,” he said at the time.
Now, with the Higgins Report’s recommendations for six new groupings adopted by Government, he wants to know what prompted the consultants to do a u-turn.
“For six months the emphasis was on keeping the South East Hospital Group together, with the priorities being patient safety and the future of Waterford Regional Hospital. We had reached agreement politically for that to happen. But for some reason the consultants in Ardkeen decided after six months of campaigning that it wasn’t the best option.
“They need to explain why not, particularly given that the agreement reached to keep the South East Hospital Group together incorporated almost every element of the deal finally reached with regard to Cork,” Mr Deasy said.