30th April 2014

I believe that HSE mismanagement and lack of forward planning is to blame for the closure of the Local Injuries Unit in Nenagh General Hospital on Friday last. This Unit operated on drastically restricted hours on Friday last, as a result of staff shortages and was closed to the people of North Tipperary for the entire morning.

On Friday the Local Injuries Unit only opened from 1pm to 7pm, rather than the normal operating hours of 8am to 8pm. It is hugely embarrassing for the HSE that this service was so drastically reduced simply because a medic simply didn’t turn up. Such a situation should never have occurred as the HSE should have been aware of this issue in advance and taken steps to secure appropriate cover.

Nenagh Hospital is a fantastic facility that has seen massive investment and improvements in recent years. As part of my agreement with the last Government I secured a substantial investment package for Nenagh General Hospital. I fought for and insisted this funding be provided to secure the future of the Hospital. Since securing this investment package the throughput at Nenagh Hospital and those availing of its services has increased by 40%. It is now a thriving, bustling successful healthcare centre and is continuing to grow and expand. It is grossly unacceptable to have such an important unit in this state of the art facility sitting idle on any given day and I am calling on the HSE to ensure that this situation never arises again.

What happened in Nenagh on Friday last is symptomatic of what is happening right across the health service. Health services across Tipperary are grossly understaffed and in chaos at present, and it is the public that are suffering. Staff shortages are putting incredible pressure on core staff and resulting in massive delay for patients. There have been vicious cuts across the board and despite the best efforts of staff on this ground this is reflected in the quality and level of services being provided to patients in Tipperary.

Steps need to be taken immediately to resolve this situation. The HSE and the IMO need to co-operate to find a solution. Nenagh hospital and its patients should not suffer as a result of aggravation and tension between the IMO and the HSE.