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Noeleen Moran of the Mid-West Hospital Campaign: "“If Ennis was upgraded to a Model Three facility, it could do elective procedures and have a functioning emergency department."

Campaigners: Upgraded Ennis could take elective load off UHL

A NEW petition containing 15,000 signatures supporting the upgrading of acute hospitals in the Mid-West including Ennis Hospital is prompting correspondence between a local lobby group, the UL Hospitals’ Group and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

A petition submitted by the Mid West Hospital Campaign has been discussed by the Dáil Petition Committee, which sent their proposal to the UL Hospitals’ Group for its views.

The Hospital Campaign’s response to the Hospitals’ Group submission is being sent to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly and the UHL management by the Dáil Secretariat.

The Petition Committee meets fortnightly and will discuss any response the Hospital Campaign’s receives if it is made within the next 14 days.

Noeleen Moran of the Mid-West Hospital Campaign said if Ennis Hospital was upgraded with proper investment, it could open a surgical observation unit and it could perform elective procedures.

“If Ennis was upgraded to a Model Three facility, it could do elective procedures and have a functioning emergency department. This would reduce presentations at UHL and enable elective surgeries to resume as normal.

“It is time for the Minister for Health to take a serious examination of the situation. The Deloitte report following the HIQA report again points to the need for much greater investment and given the demographic we need this investment put back into our public hospitals not pumped into a private American style system of healthcare.

“Clare patients need Ennis upgraded and we need our emergency department reopened.”

Meanwhile, Senator Martin Conway has called for the HSE Winter Plan announced by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to be more ambitious in delivering for the people of the Mid-West.

The winter health plan includes six initiatives for the University of Limerick Hospital Group (ULHG) and Community Health Organisation (CHO) 3 for people in Clare, Limerick and North Tipperary.

Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Health, Senator Martin Conway, said, “Minister Donnelly must do more for the Mid-West.

“We all know about the difficulties in accessing timely health services in this region. It is an ongoing battle. While the Winter Health Plan has good initiatives for the Mid-West, they must happen in a speedy manner. Time is of the essence here.

“Under the plan, funding of €1.73 million will be provided and whilst this is vital to tackle long-standing issues such as overcrowding, we must not underestimate the level of progress that needs to be made.

“University Hospital Limerick (UHL) suffers from some of the worst overcrowding in the country and it was crucial to see this acknowledged within the plan.”

The plan outlined four additional beds will be funded in Milford Hospice to facilitate early discharge from UHL.

Some other initiatives for ULHG/CHO3 include ring fenced diagnostics to facilitate rapid discharge, nursing supports to target weekend discharge, and a Medical Manpower Manager for older persons and chronic disease to drive and manage staffing.

“The rapid and effective implantation of these measures must be prioritised by Minister Donnelly. It is essential that we monitor how these initiatives unfold to ensure any logistical issues do not stand in the way.”

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