Prison Officers Association deeply concerned about plans to close A&E at Portlaoise Hospital 10th June 2015
The Prison Officers Association (POA) is deeply concerned about plans to close the Accident and Emergency Services at Portlaoise Hospital. It makes no community, medical or economic sense to close a facility, which is so readily accessible and widely used by the local community and the two local prisons.
Jim Mitchell, Deputy General Secretary of the POA said today, “The A&E at Portlaoise is a vital and readily accessible service for over 1000 prisoners and several hundred prison officers based locally. Assaults on prison officers are now a daily occurrence and having an A&E facility nearby is a vital support for prison officers who are constantly under threat of in jury. The prison population experience the normal range of illness coupled with additional issues which can emerge in relation to lifestyle issues, such as drug use”.
Mitchell went on to say, “Over the years a carefully constructed streamlining of access has been developed by both prisons and the hospital – it will take years to develop such a system at any other hospital. Many prisoners requiring medical attention must also be accompanied by several layers of security and if the A&E is moved from the local area, staffing and transport costs will inevitably increase; as a hospital visit which can now be completed in an hour will take several hours and will create additional risks”
The Prison Officers will be raising this most serious matter with local politicians and will be stressing the need to reverse this decision in the best interests of all the parties involved.