By Cian Prendiville

IN A report published in January, plans were announced to effectively close the casualty departments in Ennis, Nenagh and St. John's (Limerick) hospitals, replacing them with nurse-led minor injury units, unable to treat emergencies.

Harney butchers healthcare in Mid West

IN A report published in January, plans were announced to effectively close the casualty departments in Ennis, Nenagh and St. John’s (Limerick) hospitals, replacing them with nurse-led minor injury units, unable to treat emergencies.

Previous talk that the report would propose an expansion at the Regional Hospital (Dooradoyle), which would have the only remaning A&E in the region, was shown to be false. The HSE said no money would be made available.

People living in Clare and Tipperary face long journeys to A&E, with the real potential for fatalities. An anti-cuts public meeting in response to the announcement was attended by 1,000 in Nenagh.

In Limerick, the Campaign for a Real Public Health Service has been out on the streets, and in the press arguing that these centralisation plans will be a disaster, even for those living next door to the new so-called ‘”centre of excellence” in Limerick.

The Regional A&E is overworked already, having 30 people on trolleys regularly. On top of this, the HSE has announced a 5% cut in spending in the Midwest – closing wards on weekends, cutting staff etc.

The Campaign for a Real Public Health Service is calling for a day of protest by all of the anti-health cuts campaigners in the Mid-West region. The health unions need to use all of their resources to get behind the communities and the health workers who are opposed to these draconian cuts.