The Mid-West Hospital Campaign is calling for the restoration of A&E services in three hospitals across the region in response to overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick (UHL).
The campaign has gathered support from a number of community groups and political parties including Sinn Féin, Labour and Solidarity, as well as trade unions SIPTU and FORSA.
“University Hospital Limerick is consistently the most overcrowded hospital in the country. The volume of people affected is increasing with each year that passes,” said Limerick campaigner, Mary Cahillane Vallely.
“Throughout the summer months there have been repeated calls for the general public to refrain from using the A&E unless absolutely necessary, this is not acceptable,” Mary added.
According to Eileanór Ní Cheit, also of the Limerick campaign, the closure of the A&E departments in Ennis, Nenagh and St John’s hospitals has seen overcrowding levels rise dramatically.
“Health service workers from SIPTU and the INMO (Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation) have expressed their anger and highlighted time and time again their deep concerns about the safety and care of their patients left lying on trolleys in accident and emergency departments across the country,” she said.
The INMO have also renewed their calls for intervention at UHL from Minister for Health Simon Harris, with General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha describing the situation in the Limerick hospital as “escalating beyond crisis point.”
This comes after new daily figures published by the INMO show that UHL has, for the second time this year, set a new record for the number of patients being treated on trolleys.
Of the 82 patients which were treated on trolleys, 47 were being treated in the emergency department.