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*Noeleen Moran speaking at a rally organised by the Mid-West Hospital Campaign. Photograph: Martin Molloy

AN OPPORTUNITY ‘to right the wrong’ of downgrading Ennis Hospital can be put across by local politicians when they meet management of UL Hospitals Group in the coming days, health activists have said.

Senior members of the HSE and UL Hospitals Group management will meet with Mid-West members of the HSE Regional Forum West on Tuesday evening including Cllr Liam Grant (GP), Cllr Cillian Murphy (FF), Cllr Mary Howard (FG) and Cllr Bill Chambers (FF).

Earlier on this year,, a motion from Cllr Grant and Tipperary representative, Cllr Seamie Morris (IND) which requested the reopening of emergency departments at Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s, was discussed at a Regional Forum meeting.

Noeleen Moran of the Mid-West Hospital Campaign urged the politicians “to use this opportunity to advance the case to upgrade Ennis Hospital, to a model three hospital, which would mean the return of 24/7 Emergency Department to the county”.

Management at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) in response to a damning HIQA report published last month outlined measures to be taken in the short, medium and long-term to bring about improvements in areas it was found to be non-compliant.

Failings have been acknowledged in the HIQA report, Noeleen outlined. “The Centre of Excellence promised in 2009 has not materialised neither have safer patient outcomes. This is evident from the HIQA findings. The reconfiguration strategy has most certainly failed and this has now been acknowledged by the Minister of Health”.

She added, “The latest Census data shows there are now 127,419 people living in Clare alone and in addition there are an estimated 1.6m tourists visiting Clare every year. Yet there is no 24 hour emergency health provision in the county”.

According to the Ballyvaughan woman, Ennis has a strong case for reopening its emergency department. “Ennis should never have been downgraded. There is an opportunity now to right that wrong. Using Ennis Hospital as the first point of contact for the people of Clare means that emergency cases would reach hospital sooner within the golden hour. Some less serious cases need never end up at UHL ensuring space and timely intervention for those who need more critical care. Sláintecare’s vision is for one universal health service for all, providing the right care, in the right place, at the right time. The people of Clare deserve the right care, Ennis is the right place, Now is the right time”.

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