Offaly County Council set for showdown meeting with HSE over Midoc closures

Calls for the service to be reinstated

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

Justin.Kelly@offalyexpress.ie

Offaly County Council set for showdown meeting with HSE over Midoc closures

Offaly County Councillors will call for the Midoc services in Birr and Edenderry to be reinstated at a crunch meeting with the HSE in Tullamore on Tuesday, April 17. 

Before the commencement of the regular order of business of the April meeting of Offaly County Council on Monday, April 16, Cllr John Clendennen raised the ongoing Midoc closures controversy.

The HSE released a statement last week explaining that further to an independent review, the Midoc satellite services, which operate an out of hours GP service, had been closed.

Cllr Clendennen reiterated that this decision "had not been communicated to the council, councillors or the public" prior to its implementation. 

He referenced a large turnout at a public meeting to discuss the contentious decision in Birr last week, saying "people effectively spoke with their feet" to express their disappointment and disgust at the removal of the services. 

He also said that "the least the HSE can do is reinstate this service," while he also asked for a new quarterly meeting with the HSE to discuss ongoing service issues and provision, as well as local health figures. 

He said the regional hospital group meeting is not enough and said that a more locally focused group needed to be introduced. "We should be around that table to explain to them the impact of decisions," he said. 

Cllrs John Foley, Noel Cribbin, Peter Ormond, John Leahy and John Carroll all spoke out in support of Clendennen's sentiments. 

Cllr Cribbin said he was "very disappointed" that the decision had been made, adding, "just because one Midoc base works in Laois doesn't mean it will work in Offaly."

Cllr Ormond also criticised the decision and said he was "looking forward to meeting with the HSE on Tuesday to find out why they made such a rash decision." He also called for some form of mechanism to have input and awareness of ongoing HSE decisions. 

Cllr Carroll also said he was looking forward to meeting the HSE to discuss the closures but said, "this meeting really should have taken place before the decision was taken."

Cllr Leahy labelled the decision for the HSE to implement the closures without consulting or informing the public or its representatives as "shameful."

He added, "HSE health services should be people focused, not just blunt facts and figures."

He went on to suggest that Offaly has a better vet service than a health service for people.

Cathaoirleach Liam Quinn agreed that the council should have at least been notified of the changes. He also welcomed the HSE meeting which will take place on Tuesday.