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Overcrowding at Ennis General Hospital caused uproar in 1986

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Ennis General Hospital has a long-standing tumultuous relationship with the people living within its vast catchment area.

This fact remains truer than ever to this very day. In 1986, the mishaps and incompetency shown by the hospital itself caused uproar amongst the people of Clare.

Local newspapers bore stories of outraged individuals that received little joy from the services rendered by the hospital. Headlines likened Ennis General Hospital to a war zone, as one third of the beds available were taken away by the government.

Private individual rooms were doubled up in order to accommodate more patients and the female surgical ward catering for up to thirty-six people was overpopulated. A decline in nursing standards was noted due to overpopulation and stressful conditions subsequently leading to an increased number of nurses on sick leave.

Built in 1946, there were calls to close the hospital indefinitely due to such low standards. An inspection spearheaded by the Fire Authorities of Ennis arrived at this conclusion. The hospital was seen as incapable of dealing with emergencies due to various hazards. Ward closures and staffing cuts also hit St. Joseph’s Hospital in Ennis very hard.

Complaints of overcrowding were perpetual throughout 1986 and the Fire Authorities conducted several more inspections resulting in the inquisition as to why there were not an adequate amount of fire alarms installed.

As hindsight has shown us, the steady decline of the hospital was to follow.

An avid reader from a young age, Cian’s love of the archives has been shared by Clare Echo readers who enjoy his Reeling in The Years section. Charles Dickens, Terry Pratchett and Michael Crichton were his favourites writers in his younger years while he was always a fan of studying the opinion columns in The Irish Independent. A past pupil of Lissycasey National School and St Flannan’s College, he is currently completing his final year studies at the University of Limerick in New Media and English. From September, he will be commencing a Masters Degree in Journalism at UL.

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