May 9, 2024
All options must be on the table in review of Midwest emergency departments – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has called for meaningful engagement with patient advocates, healthcare workers, local representatives, and the Oireachtas Health committee on the terms of reference for the review announced by the Minister for Health today.

Teachta Cullinane said that all options must be on the table because expanding emergency department capacity in the region is clearly necessary.

He said the review should focus on the safest and most effective arrangement of services for the future of the region. He added that local health services, such as GPs, home support, and step-down must also be developed.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“It is beyond time for a review of urgent and emergency care services in the Midwest.  Simon Harris and Stephen Donnelly have had 8 years between them to address the crisis at University Hospital Limerick. 

“All options must be on the table to make UHL safe. The review must focus on the safest and most effective arrangement of services for the future of the region.

“This review should have been a core part of the Minister’s plan announced several weeks ago, rather than a late-stage reaction.  Expanding emergency department capacity in the Midwest is clearly needed as part of a wider plan for health services in the region.

“Sinn Féin have published a real plan to upgrade the hospital network to tackle overcrowding and long waiting lists. Expanding emergency departments must be planned with an eye to current and future population need. Capacity must be urgently increased at UHL itself regardless of the outcome of the review. The recruitment embargo must be lifted. Best practice reforms must be mandated at the hospital and supported by significant investment in primary, community, step-down, and home care.

“The Minister has said that the terms of reference will be finalised after the review by former Chief Justice Frank Clarke. The issues at UHL are well known and engagement on a draft terms of reference should happen quickly. Patient advocates, health service workers, local representatives, and the Oireachtas Health committee must all be consulted on the terms of reference before they are finalised.”

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