October 24, 2020
News

‘Absolutely outrageous’ – Kilkenny TD frustrated with ongoing delays in funding St Luke’s MRI scanner

By COLIN BARTLEY

THE LACK of urgency, and funding, involved in providing an MRI scanner for St Luke’s General Hospital has frustrated a Kilkenny TD and led him to become cynical about the Government’s guarantees.

The issue of the non-provision of the MRI scanner was re-opened after the Minister of State with special responsibility for Older People and Mental Health, Jim Daly refused to get drawn into answering questions about the scanner while he was in Kilkenny yesterday

Kilkenny TD, Bobby Aylward says he wants “cast-iron guarantees” from the Health Service Executive and the Health Minister Simon Harris to provide a commitment to funding.

The Fianna Fáil TD expressed his deep frustration at what he says is “another non-committal response from the HSE and Minister Harris in relation to funding for an MRI at St. Luke’s Hospital.”

“The Friends of St. Luke’s Hospital group has raised €250,000 locally in an effort to assist in the provision of this crucial piece of equipment – it’s high time we saw the Government put in even a fraction of the same effort.

“The Minister has visited Kilkenny, he knows the need that exists, he assured the people of Kilkenny it would happen, and yet he can’t give any indication of when it might happen. In fact, based on the most recent Parliamentary Questions response I got, there appears to be no guarantees from the HSE that it will even go to tender until funds are allocated in the capital plan.

“Despite us coming towards the end of July, the HSE capital plan, which determines the projects that can progress in 2019, still has not been finalised – it’s absolutely outrageous,” Deputy Aylward said.

“We know from officials that the HSE was forced to change the capital plan substantially because of the massive overspend on the National Children’s Hospital, but we know little else as it hasn’t been published.

“It is quite hard not to be cynical-in relation to the delay and to question why the Government has not yet published it. Is it because they know that there will be capital projects such as the MRI will be postponed? It’s time for some cast-iron guarantees.”

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