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RENEWED CALLS to reopen the emergency department and a restoration of Ennis Hospital’s model three status are to be made at a protest this Saturday.

In light of increasing overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick which included 126 patients waiting on trolleys in a single day, a record number since the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) began tracking the figures in 2006, the Mid-West Hospital Campaign will now take to the streets to protest.

This Saturday at 2pm at the Daniel O’Connell Monument in Ennis, the Mid-West Hospital Campaign will hold their latest rally. The accident and emergency unit at Ennis Hospital closed in 2009.

Noeleen Moran of the Mid-West Hospital Campaign told The Clare Echo that with UHL “consistently the worst affected hospital in the country” that it is time to act. “Each month the situation has deteriorated with the figures for April even worse than March. Every day since April 19th, the numbers of patients on trolleys and chairs at UHL have exceeded the number of those in the whole of the Eastern Region (Dublin and Kildare). This situation cannot be allowed to continue. It does not bear thinking about what we will face next winter if action is not taken now”.

At the beginning of May, the group sought clarity from Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly (FF) through parliamentary questions via Tipperary TDs, Martin Browne (SF) and Mattie McGrath (IND) on the details of the order issued to the HSE to send an expert group to UHL. “Different questions were submitted but the same stock response was received. We were are not convinced from the Minister’s response that enough is being done,” Moran maintained.

According to the Ballyvaughan native, “The people of the Mid-West really don’t need an expert group to tell them what they already know. Since Ennis and Nenagh was downgraded and the emergency departments closed far too many people are being diverted to UHL for treatment. UHL simply cannot cope with the population demands and we need the Minister to accept this fact and to reverse the closures to the Emergency Departments at Ennis, Nenagh and St. Johns”.

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