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06 Dec 2021

Scepticism as HSE plan has no timeframe for MRI for Kilkenny

Minister for Health Simon Harris must come out with a statement, says local campaign group

KILKENNY

Friends chairman: We would like to see Minister Harris come out with a timescale for our MRI. Do I think that will happen? I am sceptical

The latest HSE Capital Plan, which mentions an MRI and new 75-bed ward for St Luke’s Hospital, has been met with scepticism in Kilkenny due to the absence of any actual timeframe for delivery.

The long-awaited MRI scanner for the local hospital has been in HSE Capital Plans since 2017, but it remains unrealised. The Friends of St Luke’s long ago reached their fundraising target to contribute toward the device. They are still waiting.

A HSE Capital Plan was published yesterday detailing projects to be delivered across the country, but Kilkenny has heard it before. Last July 2018, Minister for Health Simon Harris visited St Luke's where he announced the go-ahead for a new MRI scanner and plans for new 75-bed ward block. There's been little progress.

“It might sound great that it’s in the plan, but we’ve been in the Capital Plan for the last three years and no progress has been made,” says Friends of St Luke's chairman Declan McCann.

“There seems to be a lack of political will, locally and nationally. We would like to see Minister Harris come out with a timescale for our MRI. Do I think that will happen? I am sceptical.”

In recent months, local TDs Bobby Aylward and John McGuinness have both repeatedly sought assurances regarding the MRI through Parliamentary Question. On each occasion, the response has been that the Capital Plan is being finalised.

Now, a plan has been published, but there is still an absence of any information as to when these Kilkenny projects will be delivered.

“It’s very vague, there are no timelines, no certainty,” said Deputy Aylward.

“The MRI, the 75-bed ward is in there, but we have no timescale of funds allocated. I have been putting in PQs on this, and the answer has been ‘wait for the Capital Plan’.

"Now we have it, but we are no further with any of it. The Minister, in July 2018, visited and said this would be funded and provided. Here we are now in September 2019.”

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