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Downgrade of Nenagh General Hospital Condemned

14/09/12

Government minister Alan Kelly posing for the Nenagh Hospital Action GroupLast week the Health Service Executive announced that emergency treatment at Nenagh General Hospital in Tipperary is to stop at the end of September. From then on, only minor injuries will be dealt with and all serious cases will be sent to Limerick, approximately a forty-minute drive away.

This additional travel time for those who would have went to Nenagh to access emergency medical treatment represents a period of time long enough to have fatal consequence.

Since being downgraded from a 24-hour emergency department to a 12-hour centre in 2009, Nenagh General Hospital has been treating upwards of 8,000 patients per year. The removal of this service will undoubtedly have hugely negative effects on the local area.

In cases where time is of the essence, people cannot afford to travel such a long distance to Limerick for urgent medical care. Staff at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital in Limerick have previously protested due to the fact that they are severely understaffed and unable to deal with such a large amount of emergency patients.

Speaking from Tipperary, éirígí spokesperson Mike Edwards strongly condemned the announcement that the vital service is to end. He said, “This closure is going to devastate Nenagh and the surrounding areas; it is a totally nonsensical decision. The emergency facility in Nenagh is very busy; it will be a major blow to the town to lose it.

“Our health service is already under pressure and staff cannot cope even though they are doing their best. Waiting times in emergency departments are appalling and growing all the time; the 26-County Government should be investing in our hospitals, not closing them.”

Mike went on to condemn Minister Alan Kelly for turning his back on his constituents and reneging on pre-election promises. “Alan Kelly was previously a major figure in the Nenagh Hospital Action Group which fought for years to save the hospital and oppose any downgrading. Alan Kelly used the hospital campaign for his own political gain.

“Before the 2011 election Kelly vowed to protect and fight for Nenagh Hospital, now he is a Minister of State in the Government which is closing it down. The people of Tipperary will not forget this betrayal and indeed the Labour Party’s many other broken promises when they go to the polls again.”

 

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