Significant increase in services for Ennis Hospital

Significant increase in services for Ennis Hospital


The UL Hospitals Group has confirmed to Clare Independent T.D. Michael McNamara, that a business case for a major expansion in the level of services provided at Ennis Hospital has been approved.

The National Treatment Purchase Fund has approved funding which will result in the recruitment of new staff and the expansion of the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) in Ennis Hospital by 48 slots per week, from 156 to 204 per week. The effect of the changes means the service in Ennis will have effectively doubled in the space of a year.

MAU’s provide assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients referred with medical conditions including chest infections, COPD, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, fainting episodes, clots in the leg, anaemia or non-acute cardiac problems.  Approximately 10% of cases may require admission to hospital and the majority will be discharged with a follow-up review in the unit within 48 hours.

“Since my election to Dáil Éireann in February, I have repeatedly pressed HSE management and successive Ministers for Health Simon Harris and Stephen Donnelly on the need to increase services at Ennis Hospital,” stated Deputy McNamara.

“I want to acknowledge them for following through on commitments given to me that a business case would be prepared, submitted and reviewed by the end of 2020 with a view to immediately begin expanding the level of services provided in Ennis.  This move provides considerable benefits for the people of Clare while it also will help to alleviate pressure on admissions to University Hospital Limerick, something which I have repeatedly highlighted during 2020.”

Deputy McNamara continued, “The MAU service in Ennis, which saw a 4% increase in referrals in 2019, is well-established and is the only such service in the UL Hospitals Group that has been open on a seven-day basis since 2016.  Its hours of operations during weekdays are also longer than in either Nenagh or St. John’s.  The expansion of services, which will be very much welcomed by the people of Clare and the GP community in the county and beyond, is being carried out on a phased basis and commenced last week with additional four MAU slots per day.”

Deputy McNamara added, “To support the expansion, the UL Hospitals Group has commenced a recruitment process for a number of positions, including in nursing (2 W.T.E.), medical (1 W.T.E. Senior registrar), allied health (1 W.T.E. radiographer, 0.5 W.T.E. physiotherapist), medical scientist (1 W.T.E.)  and clerical support (0.5 W.T.E.) staff.”

The effect of the changes means the service in Ennis will have effectively doubled in the space of a year,” explained Deputy McNamara.

“The CEO of the UL Hospitals Group has informed me that the MAU team and Ennis Hospital will continue to work closely with their GP colleagues in County Clare and throughout the region.  This model of care is particularly suitable for elderly people and patients suffering from chronic conditions, who will be seen and treated more quickly than they would be in a busy Emergency Department such as in University Hospital Limerick,” Deputy McNamara added.

Photo: © Pat Flynn 2020