Independent Clare TD, Dr Michael Harty is calling for an expansion of the medical assessment unit at Ennis General Hospital to help ease the burden on University Hospital Limerick.
Speaking at Sunday’s public meeting which was seeking the reopening of the county hospital’s accident and emergency unit, the GP highlighted that the current capacity and capability at the hospital was preventing it from opening a twenty four hour A&E.
“Ennis does need a huge amount of community support and Ennis is struggling to supply the services that it is providing at the moment, the main gateway to Ennis General Hospital is through the medical assessment unit and it is the only medical assessment unit which is open seven days a week, the medical assessment in Limerick, in St John’s and in Nenagh close at weekends so Ennis is the only service which has been allowed to develop a seven day a week service”, he told the crowd.
He labelled the medical assessment unit as a huge development that will help take some pressure off the A&E in University Hospital Limerick. “I think the medical assessment unit certainly needs the community support because the amount of restructure in the local hospital group which covers Ennis, Nenagh, St John’s and Limerick it’s not resourcing and supporting the medical assessment unit in Ennis so I think that’s the first thing that should come out of the meeting today that medical assessment unit in Ennis be expanded because it is keeping people out of the accident and emergency department in Limerick but there are many other services in Ennis which need to be supported”.
Harty feels the surgical theatre in the county hospital is a resource with potential but one that is being wasted. “Ennis supplies a limited outpatient service because of the very poor structure and that needs to be expanded and developed to allow more services to come out to the people of Clare in their local hospital, the surgical centres in Ennis which are also under-developed”.
More strain can be taken off Limerick if the local injuries unit in Ennis was utilised more in his opinion. He stated that several services in UHL were failing to provide for the people of Co Clare.
“The twenty four hour accident and emergency capacity in Ennis was closed down in 2009 they took away all surgical services, they took away the intensive care unit, the coronary care unit, all the monitoring equipment and all the A&E staff that could supply a twenty four hour service so Ennis is struck to its capacity and capability to provide a twenty four hour service. A return of twenty four hour service is going to require a further need for change in the health service, will that happen in the near future I don’t know but certainly the service that Ennis is supplying at the moment need to be developed to take the pressure away from Limerick and that’s the whole point of this meeting to get rid of the trolley count in Limerick and Ennis can play an important part in that”.