A SERIES of public meetings are to take place in West Cork this week in a bid to prevent any potential downgrading of Bantry General Hospital.
The ‘Save Bantry Hospital’ group are hosting public meetings at the West Cork Hotel in Skibbereen on Thursday at 7.30pm and at the Maritime Hotel, Bantry on Friday at the same time.
“The future of our healthcare is in your hands,” warns a poster highlighting the meetings.
The group has secured a meeting with the HSE next month and hopes to deliver personal accounts highlighting the importance of not downgrading BGH.
Last month, The Echo revealed that, in December last year, Dr Michael Power, the national clinical lead for Critical Care Programmes in the HSE, said it would be his “input” that Bantry General Hospital be downgraded to a model two facility.
Consultants at the hospital advocated against such a move and GPs in the region warned that it would lead to a loss of life.
The South/South West Hospital Group has claimed there are no plans to downgrade the hospital while the HSE has since refused to clarify Dr Power’s comments or comment on its plans.
Healthcare staff in Bantry and surrounding West Cork have told The Echo that they still believe the HSE will try to rid the hospital of its acute emergency access service, in a move that would see ambulances forced instead to go to Cork University Hospital (CUH).
Addressing the continuing concerns, Dr Paul O’Sullivan, a GP based in Bantry told The Echo:
“There is widespread concern that this proposed downgrading, along with the ongoing reduction in the GP workforce to retirement, illness and death, will leave large areas of West Cork unable to sustain regular out-of-hours coverage.”