Mallow General Hospital may be losing its night-time A&E service on 26th March, but the hospital will be able to roll out new services thanks to an investment of €4.5 million in the new Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) and endoscopy suite. So said Minister of State, Seán Sherlock this week when he stated that the 40-year fight to preserve the hospital had been won and its future was now secure.

Speaking to the Mallow Star on Monday, the Minister said that two years ago Mallow General Hospital was facing ex- tinction, but an allocation of €4.5 million, plus negotiations between himself, hospital manage-ment, the HSE and local GPs, had led to the construction of the MAU. “They were shutting us down by stealth, but now the hospital has a future and will be rolling out new services,” he said.

The minister added that, while the hospital’s A&E will be closed at night, an arrangement has been agreed with local GPs who will be able to refer suitable patients to the hospital. “It’s important that GPs are involved in the process,” he said.

Dr. Michael Pead of Mallow General Hospital said he believed the new regime would deliver an even better service than before, with an 8 trolley unit instead of the current 3, the ability to recruit new physicians, a state-of-the-art new building, more space for elective surgery and more services for patients. For example, he said, the new endoscopy unit will carry out an increase of about 1,000 scopes a year, and surgeons from Cork city will attend at Mallow on a regular basis to deliver day surgery, outpatient services and diagnostics. “Mallow will do more elective, short-stay procedures, and we are building something that the CUH group needs. The new building is a tangible promise that we are being invested in, and we have proved that we give very good value for money and we really do care for the people who come to the hospital,” he said. For more see pages 16 and 17.