FEARS have been expressed over the future of services at St Ita’s Hospital in Newcastle West, amid reports that it will be directly hit by cuts to health spending in this month’s Budget.
At present there are a total of 102 available beds at the community hospital, while a day hospital and clinic operates there five days per week.
However 17 respite care beds were closed there in September due to staffing shortages, and reports this week have suggested that the hospital could be set to lose more beds after expected cuts to HSE funding.
Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins said that if further cuts at St Ita’s Hospital materialise, it could spark a “Roscommon hospital moment” in county Limerick.
“This Government was elected and campaigned on the promise of no cuts to front line services. Any cuts to funding or services in St Ita’s would amount to county Limerick’s Roscommon hospital moment, when people will see the tangible effect of Fine Gael and Labour’s populist and broken election promises and u-turns.”
Fergus Scanlan, chairman of the Friends of St Ita’s group which has raised over €3 million in funding for the hospital over the past decade, said that he hopes reports of an imminent downgrade of services there are “not true”.