Hopes of reopening the 24 hour Accident and Emergency Unit at Ennis General Hospital have received a new lifeline.
Following on from the draft Regional Spatial Economic Strategy (RSES) compiled by the Southern Regional Assembly, Clare County Council have made a submission highlighting some changes they would like made to the document before it is finalised.
One such requested alteration came from Cllr Johnny Flynn at Monday’s meeting of the Economic Development SPC. The Fine Gael representative highlighted there was “nothing on quality of life that deals with health” in the RSES. He referred to requirements outlined in the National Planning Framework and the projected population for Ennis would demand an A&E in the town.
“NPF page 77 table 5.2 outlines infrastructure needed for settlements, the availability of health is going to affect health services. When you look at the NPF table for towns with a population over 10,000 it recommends an A&E hospital be in place. Are we allowed to mention this and ask under quality of life that an A&E hospital in the centre of Ennis be reopened”.
Cathaoirleach of the SPC, Cllr Richard Nagle asked, “are you requesting a model three hospital for Ennis” and Flynn answered, “The reopening of a 24 hour A&E in a town with over 10,000 people is needed”.
Cllr Nagle confirmed that Senior Planner, Brian McCarthy was agreeable to include it in the submission. “Clare, Limerick and Tipperary all have to head to the University Hospital Limerick for the majority of services and that’s why the A&E is chaotic all the time. We have justification looking for a model 3 hospital because we are the only area that doesn’t have one”.
“We’re using their own national standards,” Cllr Flynn stated. “If we look to the NPF it makes perfect sense”, Brian McCarthy acknowledged. Director of Economic Development with the Council, Liam Conneally also backed Cllr Flynn’s proposal, “We should put in what the members have said, it’s clear, crisp and says everything there is to say”.