Healthcare campaigners to highlight issues at Limerick hospital 

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Mid West Hospitals Campaign spokesperson Mary Cahillane

THE MID WEST Hospital Campaign is set to have their say on healthcare after submitting a petition with 15,000 signatures to the Dáil Petitions Committee.

The action was taken to put the national spotlight on the need to tackle overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) and to address the situation of timely access to safe and proper healthcare in the Mid West.

The petition, which calls for the upgrading of Ennis, Nenagh, and St John’s hospitals to Model 3 status, and the reopening of emergency departments, will be heard before the Dáil Petitions Committee next Wednesday, September 14.

“There are 80 people lying on trolleys today in the corridors of UHL. Thousands more wait on lists for treatment. The out of hours GP services in this county has been greatly depleted and in recent weeks even the minor injury units in Ennis, Nenagh, and St John’s hospitals had to close on a temporary basis because of staffing shortages,” said campaign spokesperson Mary Cahillane.

“We need much greater investment to be put into the health service in the Mid West. We need our hospitals upgraded and we need the emergency departments reinstated. The people of the Mid West deserve timely access to proper healthcare,” she added.

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The HIQA report highlights that the UHL hospital group is the only hospital group which does not have a Model 3 hospital to support the work of the Model 4 hospital at University Hospital Limerick.

While UHL management in their response to HIQA committed to exploring the possibility of a Model 3 hospital for the region the former HSE chief executive Paul Reid ruled this out.

The Petitions Committee gives the public an opportunity to interact with the parliamentary system on matters of general public concern or interest. It has the powers to invite the Minister for Health to answer questions in relation to this petition.

It is the hope of the campaign that Health Minister Stephen Donnelly will be brought before the committee to answer directly on this issue.

The campaign is calling on all public representatives in the Mid West to use their voice and support the campaign by publicly putting on record their support for the campaign’s objectives in the lead in to September 14.