By Dan Walsh
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has fond memories of Wexford General Hospital and got his first job as a surgical intern there back in 2003, however, he is unfamiliar with current concerns at the hospital.
The Tánaiste was replying to a question from Independent Deputy Verona Murphy during Questions on Promised Legislation in the Dáil on Thursday.
Deputy Murphy said; “In 2016, the Friends of Wexford General Hospital group was told that it would be given funding for an essential MRI scanner for the hospital if the group was able to raise €250,000. The group appealed to the people of Wexford and within 18 months that €250,000 was raised by the people of Wexford. It was by 2018, some 18 months later.”
Deputy Murphy told the House that Paul Reid, chief executive officer of the HSE was asked when Wexford General Hospital would see the promised MRI scanner in place. Mr Reid replied that there was no mention nor provision made for an MRI scanner in the HSE’s capital fund.
“Can the Tánaiste confirm to the people of Wexford that the previous Government, in which he was the Taoiseach at the time, and this Government have not hoodwinked the people of Wexford and that they do not think they can just fob them off? Can the Tánaiste confirm when the MRI scanner will be in place and a timeline for that?,” asked Deputy Murphy.
An Tánaiste replied; “I am a friend of Wexford General Hospital. My first job as a surgical intern was in the hospital back in 2003. I have fond memories of working there. I got a great education there but I also met some really great people. Increasingly, MR is becoming a standard investigation method and it would make sense to have that facility available in every acute general hospital. I do not know what specific commitments were made by this Government and the previous one regarding Wexford General Hospital, so I will have to check. I appreciate, however, that the Deputy is raising an important issue and I will follow up with the HSE and get her a more detailed response.”