MEMBERS of the Mid West Hospital Campaign (MWHC) have welcomed the letter from 89 doctors, consultants, and professors at University Hospital Limerick (UHL), which outlines the impossible conditions for staff and patients at the chronically overcrowded hospital.
Responding to the letter, MWHC chairperson Noeleen Moran said that the letter “indicates a workforce that is on its knees”.
The signatories described “extreme overcrowding”, “relentless demands”, and “demoralised” staff at the Limerick Hospital.
“We have recognised this and have always indicated that the staff are as much victims of the constant neglect of medical provision in the Mid West as are the patients. We offer them our full support and solidarity,” said Ms Moran.
Referring to an earlier statement from a consultant this week, which said opening the former emergency departments will not solve the problem, the MWHC responded that “in relation to Dr Fergal Hickey’s comments, our campaign have found some of his statements in the past supportive, but we do not find ourselves in agreement with him on this occasion”.
“It is not right to examine the HIQA report into Ennis hospital in isolation from the damning HIQA report [published last June] into UHL. That report found UhL to be non-compliant with national standards and highlighted the absence of any alternative ED in the region.
“The UL Hospitals Group is distinct from other hospital groups, perhaps even distinct from other hospital groups Dr Hickey may have worked in, because it only has one emergency department serving the entire region.”
Ms Moran said the overcrowding at UHL stems from the decision to downgrade and close emergency departments at Ennis, Nenagh, and St John’s hospitals.
“Many people have lost loved ones directly as a consequence. The only way to properly address the deficit that exists in healthcare in the Mid West is to reverse the closures, upgrade our local public hospitals, and reopen our EDs,” she said.
“The Mid West Hospital Campaign group has always emphasised the support politicians give to the current and previous managements of UHL, they have done this to the detriment of the population of Clare, Limerick, and North Tipperary.
“Time and time again they have failed to listen to or represent the people of the Mid West.
“The voices of the people and the staff of UHL can no longer be ignored,” the campaign chairperson concluded.