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Palliative care patients in Louth and Meath are being discriminated against compared to other counties – McGahon

25th June 2023 - Senator John McGahon

Public Health Nurses in Louth and Meath are not being used to administer palliative care treatments to patients despite being used in other counties according to Senator John McGahon.


This has a knock-on effect and effectively ensures that patients who have a terminal illness are having to go on a waiting list for palliative care.


Speaking on the issue, Senator McGahon said: “Patients requiring palliative care and end-of-life services are limited in time and have for the most, endured arduous episodes of treatment, surgery, and recovery.


“They navigate their health issues by attempting to manage symptoms and pain control in order to add some quality to their lives for themselves and family members. To have to wait for services is contradictory to the ethos of the Cancer Strategy 2017.


Louth and Meath come under the CHO8 region which includes both counties as well as Laois and Offaly. In Laois and Offaly, public health nurses are used to administer palliative care treatments, whereas in Meath and Louth, clinical nurse specialists are being used.


“It makes no sense to me, why two counties are being treated differently when it comes to the administration of palliative care treatments and as a result, cancer patients in Louth and Meath are being discriminated against,” continued Senator McGahon.


“Public health nurses also carry out palliative care treatment in Cavan and Monaghan, so I simply don’t understand why the same is not happening in Louth and Meath. It is crazy to think a palliative care patient in Carrickmacross can have a public health nurse call to their home to provide treatment, but a few miles across the county border in Louth or Meath and they potentially have to go to a hospital to see a clinical nurse specialist.


“Public health nurses and clinical nurse specialists play such an important role, their professionalism, empathy, and dignity make the entire process that bit more manageable for patients and their families.”


Senator McGahon added that people want to die at home, surrounded by their family and loved ones and in a space where they are comfortable.


“As part of the 2017 Cancer Strategy, we have to provide that for everyone, but there is a clear discrepancy whereby people in Louth and Meath are being severely discriminated against compared to people living in Cavan, Monaghan and other parts of the CHO 8 Area.


“Following on from the debate, I have written to the new CEO of the HSE Bernard Gloster and the Minister for Health seeking an urgent meeting about how this issue can be resolved. It really is unacceptable that people are not getting the same type of end-of-life care based on where their live.”

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