A&E at Limerick Regional Hospital “will not close” says Minister

Health Minister James Reilly has given assurance to the city’s Fine Gael TD’s that there will be no night-time closures of A&E at the Mid Western Regional Hospital this summer.

Constituents of both Minister Michael Noonan and Deputy Kieran O’Donnell have been deeply concerned by reports a shortage in junior doctors could see the doors closed at the country’s busiest emergency department at 8pm from July 11 – and that patients could be brought to Galway or Cork.

Deputy O’Donnell said that he had sought a meeting with Minister Reilly on Tuesday “to bring clarity to the situation” and that the Minister was adamant “the integrity of the service would not be compromised”.

A spokesman for Michael Noonan said that, prior to his departure for an EU summit on Sunday; the Limerick TD had been given similar assurances by his Cabinet colleague.

“Michael is aware of the speculation relating to the A&E department at the Regional Hospital and the upset it has caused. Before his trip to Luxembourg he got assurances from James Reilly that there will be no evening closures and there is no threat to services in A&E at the hospital. Michael is very anxious that message gets out,” a spokesman for Minister Noonan said.

The director of operations in the HSE West area, John Hennessy, said yesterday there was no possibility the emergency department at the Mid Western Regional Hospital in Limerick would be closed at night due to a shortage of junior doctors.

He told the HSE West regional forum that across the HSE West region – stretching from Limerick to Donegal – there were 81 or 10 per cent of posts in the upcoming rotation for junior doctors that still required to be filled. He said the Limerick hospital’s emergency unit was staffed by 21 medical staff. It is seven junior doctors short.

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