Hospital campaigners shown only ‘unsigned paper’ as evidence of historical emergency department closure advice

Protesters gathered outside the HSE offices in Raheen after the convoy. Photo: Brendan Gleeson.

A REPORT that no one had the conviction to put a signature to.

That was how Noleen Moran of the Mid West Hospital Campaign (MWHC) described what the group was allowed see of the clinical advice report that convinced government to downgrade three Mid West hospitals and send all urgent clinical care to University Hospital Limerick (UHL).

Addressing protesters gathered outside HSE offices in Raheen on Saturday (April 13), Ms Moran said that the group “went before the Oireachtas Petitions Committee with thousands of signatures for the re-opening of the A&Es at St John’s Nenagh and Ennis”.

“We asked to see the report on the clinical advice that these facilities should be closed and all we were shown was an unsigned paper that no one was willing to stand over”.

The Drive to Survive protest convoy organised by the MWHC brought around 70 vehicles carrying more than 100 people out to demand that emergency departments (EDs) at St John’s, Nenagh, and Ennis hospitals be reopened, having been previously shut by government on foot of the clinical advice in 2009.

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The protest marked 15 years since the closure of the three EDs, which directed a population of 450,000 people to the Mid West’s only acute hospital, UHL.

“Never send me to that skip again”.

Those were the words that 91-year-old May Collopy used when she spoke to her daughter, Geraldine O’Keefe from Murroe, after days on a trolley in the ED at UHL.

Geraldine found it hard to hide tears when she told the Limerick Post at Saturday’s protest about her mother’s experience.

“She had cancer. 91 years of age and what happened to her was too horrible to describe in detail. They gave her no dignity,” Ms O’Keefe said.

“Her mind and her faculties where totally sharp. The experience she had there was so bad that even when she was in so much pain she told me never to bring her back to that skip again. That’s exactly what she said.”

Charlotte Keane from Janesboro said her mother, Aileen Kiely, “was failed by the system. She had heart problems and she was left on a trolley so many times”.

“She needed surgery and she only got it when she had a heart attack. The dead have been failed by this system.”

A hospital spokesperson said that UL Hospitals Group would not be commenting on the protest.