April 4, 2024
Minister Donnelly’s crisis driven response falls far short of real change for mid-west – David Cullinane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has criticised the Minister for Health’s crisis-driven response to the ongoing disaster at University Hospital Limerick as lacking urgency, leadership, and a coherent plan.

Teachta Cullinane said that the people of the mid-west are suffering from a lack of respect for their needs, with Simon Harris and Stephen Donnelly both failing the region over the last 8 years.

The TD for Waterford outlined how Sinn Féin would invest in additional bed capacity at UHL, bolster services at Ennis and Nenagh, and invest in GP, primary, and community care services to better support the hospital network.

Teachta Cullinane said:

“Everything announced by the Minister today is crisis-driven, short-term, temporary, and piecemeal. There is no urgency, no leadership, and no coherent plan from the Minister for Health to resolve the disaster at University Hospital Limerick.

“Along with our TD for Limerick Maurice Quinlivan, I have visited the region three times, met the clinicians, the management, the patients, and the campaign group. We have a plan for real change.

“The Minister has announced that he will fast-track just 16 beds, which will never get ahead of the problem. UHL needs 230 beds right now. We would invest in 288 beds to get ahead of a growing population and tackle overcrowding. The hospital needs to be able to separate scheduled care from emergency care and needs an elective centre.

“I want to see what more can Ennis and Nenagh do to alleviate pressure on Limerick. Extending their opening hours to 24/7 is essential but has yet to happen. I would put in place a short, sharp, medically and clinically underpinned review to determine what services can be boosted in Ennis and Nenagh, whether that is urgent care, diagnostics, or surgeries, and what resources would be needed to make services safe.“The solution is not just beds in the main hospital. We need to move the health service to joined up planning across primary, community, and hospital care. It needs to be supported by consistent out-of-hours GP and late pharmacies. We need to directly hire GPs where services are struggling. We need to train more GPs and expand multi-disciplinary primary care teams, including more nurses, working in communities. The hospital needs access to step-down and nursing home beds so people can be discharged and cared for closer to home. 

“Simon Harris and Stephen Donnelly have had 8 years to put a plan in place for the mid-west and they have failed. The scale of ambition is lacking. The Minister’s half-baked plan for the mid-west falls far short of the real change that is needed.”

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