Timeline to be set into Mid West emergency department review

University Hospital Limerick

LIMERICK TD Willie O’Dea has been promised that a timeline will be set on the recently announced HIQA review into emergency care capacity in the Mid West, and that he will get a date for the opening of the three injury clinics in the region on a 24-hour basis.

The Fianna Fáil TD prodded Taoiseach Simon Harris in the Dáil about the need to set a time limit on the review, saying that “the Minister for Health recently announced a HIQA inquiry into emergency care capacity in the Mid West, but a lack of capacity would be a more accurate description”.

“I ask for an assurance that the review will be time limited. We cannot allow this to drag on interminably. People are suffering.

“The trolley figures last week were again outrageous. In that regard, a year has elapsed since we got a commitment that the injury clinics in the three satellite hospitals, St John’s, Ennis, and Nenagh, would be open on a 24/7 basis. That has not happened yet. When is it going to happen?”

The Taoiseach, a former health minister himself, replied that he will “raise the opening times of the injury clinics with the Minister for Health and ask him to revert”.

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“HIQA is now carrying out a review into urgent and emergency care capacity in the Mid West region to determine whether a second ED (emergency department) is required. Terms of reference will be finalised shortly,” he said.

“The Minister rightly wants to wait for the Mr Justice Frank Clarke report (into the death of Shannon teenager Aoife Johnston) to conclude, which is expected to happen this month. Smaller emergency departments in the region, as the Deputy knows, closed 15 years ago.

“This was based on clear clinical advice at the time, but we do know there are significant pressures in the Mid West region. The actions the Minister has taken are correct. I will get a timeline for the Deputy.”