- Medical Assessment and Local Injuries Units have major role to play
- 2009 decision to close A&E was wrong
Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling on the HSE and the government to ensure 24-hour intermediate care at Ennis General Hospital is prioritised, to tackle emergency department overcrowding in the Midwest.
It comes as a pilot project to bring patients directly to Ennis, as opposed to the region’s main hospital, gets underway as one of the measures to ease severe and consistent overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick.
“The movement of ambulance patients to the Medical Assessment Unit at Ennis General Hospital this week has been a positive step,” said Deputy Crowe.
“I am confident that this intervention will help alleviate the inordinate pressures felt at UHL’s emergency department.
“It makes so much sense for patients in Clare to be treated in Clare where possible, and whilst many people in the south of our county are geographically closer to UHL, this decision is a major boost for those living in the west and north of our county.
“When I meet with HSE and UHL senior management this week, I intend to make the case for this arrangement to become a more permanent one and I also think it’s time to start looking at having the MAU and local injuries unit at Ennis General open on a 24/7 basis.
“This Christmas period once again laid bare how pressurised the public health system is in the Midwest region and the most tragic manifestation of this was the death of Aoife Johnston.
“No action by hospital management or government can ease the pain felt by her loved ones.
“I have now served almost three years as a TD for Clare and it is more obvious than ever that the decision taken in 2009 when my own party was in government to close the 24-hour A&E in Ennis General Hospital was absolutely wrong.
“At the time, it was touted that the closure would help to develop a centre of excellence in Limerick but this has never happened and if anything, things have gotten a lot worse over the past decade.
“Since 2009, various governments have stripped back Ennis General Hospital to the point that now it would be an incredibly difficult challenge to reopen a 24-hour A&E there – however, we should aim to significantly bolster the MAU and local injuries unit there.”