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Fine Gael Cork East Deputy David Stanton has warned that the HIQA investigation of Mallow General Hospital must not amount to closure by stealth. Deputy Stanton said the Government has had a policy of starving the hospital of resources and this should not now lead to the hospital being downgraded.

“There is a real fear that these hospital probes end up being closure by a thousand cuts. Mallow is essential for North Cork and provides a vital service for the centre of Munster. Any problems at the hospital are the result of Government policy which has been to starve it of resources by cutting staff and by not allowing the operation of the CT scanner. There is a pattern emerging in the health service where facilities are starved of essential resources and the ensuing problems are used as an excuse for closure by stealth. This must not be the case in Mallow General.

“The logical finding of any inquiry into Mallow General should be that the staff restrictions and the CT scanner lying idle are issues that must be addressed. It must not lead to the downgrading or closure of the hospital which would seriously diminish health services in the Munster area. What we’re seeing now is the result of the Government’s disastrous economic policy and how their mismanagement is having a real, painful impact on patients all over the country. Their financial incompetence means this is set to continue with a harsh Budget in store and the promise of hundreds of millions of euro being cut from the health budget”