Health Minister Called On To Upgrade Ennis Hospital

Photo © Pat Flynn

A former Clare Chair of the HSE’s Health Forum West is again calling on the Health Minister to take steps to ensure Ennis General Hospital is upgraded to include the return of full-time A&E care.

Councillor Tom McNamara, who is one of a number of local representatives who have spoken out in favour of bringing full A&E services back to the county, says repeated calls at forum level have fallen on deaf ears.


The Health Minister is being called on to upgrade Ennis General to a level three hosptial.

The Mid-West which caters for around 400,000 people, has no such facility -it would include 24-hour A&E cover.

By contrast, the Saolta Hospital Group, which covers the west and north west has four model three hospitals, covering a population of around 700,000.

The call was made during yesterday’s monthly Council meeting, where one councillor spoke out about her own family’s experience, when they attended Ennis hospital on this day last week.

Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy’s 92-year-old mother was brought to the facility after they feared she’d been de-hydrated.

But she wasn’t admitted, with one member of staff allegedly telling them the system couldn’t cope.

After yesterday’s discussion, Councillors agreed to facilitate the establishment of a group, made up of representativs from throughout Clare who will campaign for the restoration of A&E care to Ennis.

But the former Clare Chair of the HSE’s Regional Health Forum West says repeated calls to do just this have fallen on deaf ears.

Full Statement from the UL Hospitals Group:

For reasons of patient confidentiality, UL Hospitals Group does not discuss individual cases.

Management at Ennis Hospital is happy to discuss the experience of this patient directly with the family.

The Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) at Ennis Hospital is open Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm and on weekends from 9am–6pm. Patients are referred by their GP/Shannondoc via the Bed Bureau for medical assessment. The service is consultant-led with a senior decision maker available. The numbers have increased over the years; with an average of between 20 and 35 patients assessed daily.

MAUs facilitate the immediate assessment, diagnosis and treatment of patients presenting with medical conditions such as chest infections, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), pneumonia, urinary tract infections, fainting episodes, clots in the leg, anaemia or non acute cardiac problems. These patients, whilst they don’t necessarily require admission to hospital, do require assessment, investigations and a treatment plan which sometimes requires follow up review in the Unit after a few days.

MAUs do not provide a walk-in service and patients are referred to the MAU via the Bed Bureau by their GP, Shannondoc or through University Hospital Limerick (UHL) once it has been established that they are suitable for the service. Patients will generally be offered an appointment on the same day or at the latest, the next day, a follow up appointment will be arranged upon discharge.

If a patient arrives at Ennis Hospital and is in need of urgent medical attention they will be assessed by a member of the medical team and if necessary the patient will be transferred by ambulance to UHL. Where necessary, a doctor or nurse from Ennis will accompany the patient in the ambulance.
UL Hospitals Group can confirm that there were no capacity issues for any patients requiring admission at Ennis Hospital on Tuesday last, June 6th.

Feedback and complaints from patients and their families are encouraged in the interests of improving services. This can be done directly through Your Service Your Say, please email [email protected] and we will address them through this channel as appropriate.