*Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly (FF). Photograph: Brian Arthur

48 new acute hospital beds are to be put in place at Ennis Hospital over the next four years.

Across the Mid-West, an additional 156 acute in-patient beds will be in place in Midwest hospitals by 2028.

University Hospital Limerick is set to receive an additional 84 beds in this timeframe, with 24 going to Nenagh Hospital – while further down the line, 42 beds are ringfenced for St John’s Hospital in Limerick between 2029 and 2031.

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly (FF) on Wednesday announced a new plan to deliver 3,352 new beds nationally.

Speaking to The Clare Echo, Senator Timmy Dooley (FF) stated, “These new beds are much needed in the two counties and I know they will be of enormous comfort to families in the region”. He said the efforts to get the additional beds for Ennis has been “a long process”.

He continued, “If we are to keep people out of Limerick we need additional bed capacity and this follows through on that”.

Clare TD, Cathal Crowe (FF) commented, “Ennis has a crucial role to play in helping to alleviate overcrowding in UHL – a point I have vociferously made to my colleagues, including Minister Stephen Donnelly, and the only way it can do this is by having additional capacity and an expanded scope of services”.

Deputy Crowe pointed out that in two recent meetings between Friends of Ennis Hospital, Minister Donnelly and himself that these needs have been highlighted clearly. “I have long been outspoken in my belief that the political decision to downgrade the A&E in Ennis back in 2009, leaving only one Model 3 hospital in the Midwest, was a retrograde step that never resulted in us getting this promised ‘centre of excellence’. I hope that we continue to see capacity increased at our hospitals so that we can ensure that some reparations are made to help with the situation we currently find ourselves in”.

He added, “Today’s announcement isn’t happening overnight – the 156 beds committed by 2028 will start to be rolled out by March of next year, while the 42 for St John’s will commence in 2029 and be in place by 2031 – but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. I’ll be pushing the Health Minister to prioritise these beds over the ones promised to other CHOs in the country, given the specific difficulties faced in our region”.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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