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Endoscopy unit funding concerns

Concern has been expressed about the absence of a written commitment from the Health Service Executive (HSE) to fund the new endoscopy unit at Ennis hospital this year.
Clare Fine Gael Deputy Pat Breen expressed his disappointment that the 2010 HSE Service Plan contains no commitment to fund this vital diagnostic facility.
“Last month, I was advised by the HSE that the new endoscopy unit at Ennis general hospital was at design stage and that following a decision being finalised on the fire certificate application that they would then be moving ahead to tender stage. 
“Following the publication of the HSE Service Plan for 2010, I am very disappointed to note that there is no commitment to fund this unit this year at Ennis hospital. 
“However, at the same time an additional €1.5m is earmarked for the provision of a similar unit at Nenagh hospital.  It appears that one Independent deputy in Tipperary North has far more influence than two Government deputies have here in County Clare,” he claimed.
“This is not good enough and once again it shows how low down Ennis hospital is in the Government’s list of priorities.
“I understand that the HSE’s Draft Capital Programme for 2010-2014 is currently on the desk of the Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney,” he added.
Expressing concern about previous “broken promises”, Deputy Breen said that claims by Minister Harney that she was “committed to ensuring that all necessary developments are put in place at the hospital” was not sufficient.
He stressed that this development should get the go-ahead as quickly as possible and felt it was up to Minister Harney and this Government to deliver on previous promises.
Deputy Breen recently tabled a Dáil question asking Minister Harney if she would confirm a timeframe for the capital development programme at Ennis hospital and if a project manager had been appointed.
Minister Harney said she was committed to ensuring that all necessary developments were put in place at the hospital to support the ongoing reconfiguration within the region.
“My department is currently reviewing the HSE’s draft capital plan for the period 2010-2014 and following up with the executive, where further details may be required.  The plan requires my approval with the consent of the Minister for Finance.  Details of the plan will be published by the HSE following its approval,” she said.
The Mid-West HSE has previously stated it intended to increase the level of day surgery at Ennis hospital, once the refurbishment work on the theatres and endoscopy units was completed.
Although no final decision has been made on the number of specialities and the specific arrangements regarding day surgery to Ennis hospital, the areas under consideration will include orthopaedics, ear nose and throat, gynaecology, urology and oral and maxillofacial services.
These will be in addition to the current day services provided in vascular and general surgery.

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