Anxious Mount Carmel patients flood helpline
HELPLINES to deal with queries from anxious Mount Carmel patients have been flooded with around 500 queries.
There was widespread shock at the announcement on Friday that a liquidator has been appointed by the High Court to oversee the orderly closure of the private hospital in Rathgar, south Dublin, with the loss of 330 jobs.
A spokeswoman for the liquidation firm RSM Farrell Grant Sparks said that many of the queries to the telephone helpline and email facility related to patients seeking advice on what they should do if they have an appointment.
"The advice is, if you have a maternity appointment then come in to Mount Carmel as normal, and continue to do that until an alternative plan is put in place," she said.
"Consultations with patients, consultants and the masters of the other maternity hospitals are ongoing and they are well advanced in terms of organising alternative arrangements for maternity patients," she said
There is no definitive closure date for the hospital.
She added that patient safety and patient care was of "paramount importance" to the liquidator.
Meanwhile, Philip McAnenly, an industrial relations officer with the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, said the HSE had been using the hospital to clear its public waiting lists, with 2,300 public adult and child patients treated there in the past years.
Public patients will also have to be transferred back to public hospitals, he pointed out.
He said that the hospital was not just a private maternity hospital; up to 80pc of patients attending Mount Carmel in the past year were public patients.
Meanwhile, the Masters of Dublin's three other maternity hospitals have been contacted by the HSE to work out an arrangement to transfer women booked into the hospital.
The Rotunda, the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital, and the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street have all said they would be able to accommodate the Mount Carmel patients.
Dr Sam Coulter-Smith, the Master of the Rotunda, said: "No one is going to be left in the lurch."