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*The crowd at a rally held by the Mid-West Hospital Campaign in Ennis. Photograph: Martin Molloy

HEALTH ACTIVISTS in the Mid-West have criticised the preparation of Oireachtas members in their questioning of UL Hospitals Group management.

Wednesday morning saw management of UL Hospitals Group appear before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health.

CEO of UL Hospitals Group, Colette Cowan issued an apology for the “distress and the lack of dignity and privacy” for patients lying on trolleys in the Emergency Department (ED) of University Hospital Limerick (UHL).

Speaking to The Clare Echo, Noeleen Moran of the Mid West Hospital Campaign voiced her disappointment with the questioning applied by Oireachtas representatives from Clare and Limerick. “This meeting would leave you questioning had members even read the report. HIQA found the UL Hospital Group was the only hospital group without a model 3 hospital to support the work of the model 4 hospital. Nobody questioned the response management made to the HIQA report. Collete Cowan in her response to two of the non-compliant measures accepted that a model 3 hospital should be looked at for the region”.

The Ballyvaughan native believed the responses issued by Professor Brian Lenehan, Chief Clinical Director of UL Hospitals Group “contradicts” Cowan’s “position ruling out upgrading Ennis, Nenagh or St John’s to a model 3 for cost reasons, no politician questioned that”.

Calls for an elective hospital are not the only answer to overcrowding and waiting times at UHL, Noeleen outlined. “There is no mention of an elective only hospital in the HIQA report yet listening to the committee session this is being promoted as the silver bullet. Cost is not a consideration in this context. An elective hospital will not address the level of attendance at the emergency department. Upgrading our public hospitals and reopening the emergency departments will and would result in the easing of pressure on the ED at UHL to enable the facility to resume elective surgeries”.

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