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A Mid-West Hospital campcign member addressing the attendance at their protest in May. Photograph by Eugene McCafferty

Hospital campaigners accuse HSE of sidelining them

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A HOSPITAL action group has claimed it was “sidelined” from a briefing by the UL Hospitals’ Group, despite a motion passed at a recent HSE West Forum meeting.

In a statement issued to the Clare Champion, the Mid-West Hospital Campaign group recalled members of this lobby group attended the Regional Health Forum West meeting on May 22.

The purpose of their attendance was to get recognition that the hospital reconfiguration strategy in the Mid-West, which was implemented in April 2009, had failed and to demand the reinstatement of Emergency Departments at Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s Hospitals.

“This motion was proposed by Councillor Liam Grant on behalf of the campaign and was passed unanimously,” a spokesperson for the group stated.

“Ms Noreen Spillane Chief Operations Officer of UL Hospitals’ Group attended the meeting and offered to have a meeting with Regional Health Forum members for the Mid-West area to discuss concerns. Councillor Grant requested that Mid-West Hospital Campaign be included in that meeting and that was agreed.

“UL Hospitals’ Group chief executive officer Colette Cowen sent a message to all councillors from the Mid West who are on the Regional Health Forum. It clearly states that a briefing was to take place following on from our commitment made at the Regional Health Forum on May 24.

“The campaign contacted the UL Hospitals’ Group to request an invite but were told that only a routine quarterly business meeting was taking place and we were not permitted to attend,” the spokesperson added.

“This despite a HSE official stating in her correspondence that the meeting was in response to the request made on May 24.

“The campaign is extremely disappointed at what its members can only interpret as yet another attempt to sideline the voices of those most affected by their decision making.

“The group cannot allow this to continue and, as those who use the service, we demand to be given a voice and be listened to. Figures on trolleys/chairs at UHL continue to remain high.

“Based on a conservative calculation when trolley number are more than 80 at least one person a day died as a result of admission to the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick (UHL),” the spokesperson stated.

In its response the UL Hospitals’ Group outlined this briefing was for HSE West Regional Forum members and public representatives.

“This decision to extend the invitation to this meeting to RHFW members was made in order to give those members an opportunity to discuss their concerns not only with members of the Group’s Executive Management Team, but also with the CEO of the HSE, Mr Paul Reid, who was also present at the meeting, as part of his two-day visit to hospital and community health services in Counties Limerick and Clare.

“No other invites are issued to this meeting, which is held regularly as part of the normal business of the HSE in keeping elected members briefed on healthcare updates in the Mid-West,” UL Hospitals group stated.

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