*Photograph: Martin Molloy

CALLS FOR the reopening of Ennis Hospital’s emergency department to be heard before a Dáil committee next week.

A petition containing 15,000 signatures has been submitted by the Midwest Hospital Campaign to the Dáil Petitions Committee. The petition calls for an upgrade of Ennis Hospital’s status to a model three hospital and the emergency department’s reopening.

Noeleen Moran of Midwest Hospital Campaign explained, “This action was taken to put the national spotlight on the need to tackle overcrowding at UHL and to address the situation of timely access to safe and proper healthcare in the Midwest”. Their hearing will be held on Wednesday (September 14th).

She flagged that 80 people were lying on trolleys at University Hospital Limerick on Monday with “thousands more” waiting on lists for treatment. Noeleen said, “The out of hours GP services in this county has been greatly depleted and in recent weeks even the minor injury units in Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s Hospitals had to close on a temporary basis because of staffing shortages. We need much greater investment to be put into the health service in Clare. We need our hospital upgraded and we need the emergency department reinstated. The people of Clare deserve timely access to proper healthcare”.

In June, a HIQA report highlighted that UL Hospitals Group is the only hospital group which does not have a model three hospital to support the work of a model four hospital. “While UHL management in their response to HIQA committed to exploring the possibility of a model 3 for the region the former HSE CEO Paul Reid ruled this out,” the Ballyvaughan native noted.

Moran was hopeful the petition would lead to Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly (FF) answering questions directly on the issue. “The petitions committee gives the public an opportunity to interact with the parliamentary system on matters of general public concern or interest. It has the powers to invite the Minister for Health to answer questions in relation to this petition. It is the hope of the campaign that the delegates to the committee will bring Minister Stephen Donnelly before the committee to answer directly on this issue”.

She added, “The campaign is calling on all of Clare’s public representatives to use their voice and support the campaign by publicly putting on record their support for the campaigns objectives in the lead in to September 14th”.

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