Connolly €1m MRI Investment Welcome…€8-9m Cuts In 2012 Not

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Key Facts

·         Provision of an MRI Scanner for Connolly Hospital welcomed – Though Ministers indicate its delivery is a condition of cuts in 2012
·         Defend Blanchardstown Hospital Campaign calls for scanner to be provided immediately and without condition
·         Scanner will save money as patients no longer ferried in taxies to other hospitals for scans
·         €8-9 million in cuts and 10% reduction in staff in 2012 still a mortal danger to patients
·         Number of patients on trolleys in A&E up 93% H1 2011 on H1 2010 (Source: INMO)


In Detail

Wednesday, 16 November 2011: The government today announced that Blanchardstown’s Connolly Hospital might finally receive an MRI scanner, becoming the last major hospital in the country to get one. This is very positive news and has been a demand of the community and this Campaign. However, it comes two days after it was revealed that the Hospital faces an €8-9 million cut in 2012 that is far from welcome. 


The MRI scanner is an essential diagnostic tool for any hospital but unfortunately will not offset the cancellation of elective surgery at Connolly. The decision to provide the MRI comes from the HSE’s belated realisation that it will actually save the Hospital money.


Ministers Joan Burton and Leo Varadkar, local TDs, have indicated however that the provision of an MRI scanner is conditional on the hospital cutting €8-9m and making massive service cuts in 2012.


A HSE briefing to consultants in the hospital revealed the scale of the cuts to come in Connolly in 2012 that will have seen its budget fall a cumulative 28% (from €104m to €75m) since 2009. Beds are closing, surgery lists are being cancelled and A&E is becoming overcrowded already before these cuts bite.


The number of patients on trolleys in A&E is up 93% in the first half of 2011 versus 2010 (from 1,229 to 2,373). Doctors and nurses are reporting more severe conditions in their patients who are not provided preventative care from the non-acute services that are being cut.


“Government ministers are calling those opposing the cuts in Connolly ‘scaremongers’?, said Aaron McKenna, coordinator of the Defend Blanchardstown Hospital Campaign. “Ours is a campaign with many frontline staff involved who are reporting directly on the worsening conditions in the hospital. Furthermore, it doesn’t take a doctor to realise that cutting almost €30 million from a hospital budget cannot be done without causing real harm and suffering to patients.?


“The Defend Blanchardstown Hospital Campaign is elated at news of the provision of an MRI Scanner in the hospital, but demands that it not be used as a carrot to entice doctors to beat patients with a stick,? he continued. “Good news that it potentially is, the MRI scanner must not distract from the extreme harm that the cutbacks are causing to patients in Connolly.?


Note To Editors:

From the statement of Joan Burton, TD: “On the basis that the Management and Medical Board of the hospital undertake to deliver on these cost containment measures, the HSE are proposing to make a once off capital allocation of €1million, available immediately to ensure the hospital acquire the new imaging Unit.?