Tanaiste says reopening emergency departments won’t solve Limerick hospital overcrowding

Tanaiste Micheál Martin

THE reopening of emergency departments at St John’s, Nenagh and Ennis Hospitals, which was the main demand of 11,000 marchers in Limerick City on Saturday, is not a realistic solution to the problems caused overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick (UHL).

That’s according to Tanaiste Micheal Martin who was commenting after an estimated 11,000 people from across the Mid-West took part in a protest march and rally to highlight their frustration at ongoing problems at the region’s main hospital.

While Mr Martin acknowledged there was a need for a focus on the situation at UHL, and also Cork University Hospital, he pointed to the “unprecedented level of disease this winter in terms of Covid-19 but particularly in terms of the flu and RSV”.

“I want to pay tribute to all the frontline staff in the HSE who came in on weekends and so on, who have made a significant difference over the last number of weeks in reducing the numbers on trolleys – it’s not acceptable.

“Politically, we can make promises and make commitments but the idea that you can suddenly restore accident and emergency departments with the full complement of anaesthetists, of emergency medicine consultants and other consultants and the full backup, I would have to say is not a realistic proposition in the short-term.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One yesterday, the Taniaste added that the closure of the emergency departments was not a political decision.

“It was done on the strength of clinical advice and medical advice, on the basis of what’s best for the patient. What’s the best outcome for the patient and how can the person survive best – they should go to a centre that has all of the disciplines”.