Ex-health chairman ‘ashamed’ of hospital

THE wife of a former mid- western health board chairman was left on a trolley for 24 hours after being admitted with a stroke.

Jack Bourke, also an ex-mayor of Limerick, said he was ashamed at the way the public was being dealt with at the Mid-Western Regional Hospital.

He also admitted to being embarrassed to see his name on plaques in the hospital building. Nurses at the hospital have compared healthcare at the hospital to “Fawlty Towers”.

Mr Bourke, who as a Fianna Fáil councillor, headed the old health board told how his wife Monica was kept on a trolley for 24 hours.

“There is a lot of anger out here. Nobody is happy and I am very upset. I do not understand why you have a packed A&E department with people tripping over themselves with extra nurses brought down to look after people instead of just opening a ward.”

Mr Bourke said the current situation would not have been tolerated by the old health board.

He said: “I would be up in Dublin at the minister’s door. I rang one hospital boss to complain and was told there was a moratorium on replacing nurses who leave. It is unbelievable out here.

“I accept the Government have to make savings, but it is quite ridiculous what is happening here. I am so ashamed my name is on plaques all over this building. I was involved in getting the planning permission through for the hospital extension and then Michael Noonan, when he was minister for health, did the rest.

“I am not just talking about my wife; I am talking about how so many people here are on trolleys, while they are closing down wards. It makes no sense.”

Mary Fogarty, industrial relations manager of the mid-west branch of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation, said plans to close 50 acute beds in Limerick next will cause a total collapse of acute hospital services in the region and compared situation as akin to Fawlty Towers.

She said: “The hospital is the regional centre of excellence in the mid-west where a major reconfiguration process has occurred in the last 18 months.

“A central requirement of the reconfiguration process was an additional 135 beds, but the beds were never provided. The INWO predicted the closure of beds in Ennis and Nenagh would cause huge difficulties for Limerick without the implementation of this key recommendation. However, our claim was rejected by the HSE.”

A spokesman for the HSE said the reconfiguration of the A&E services in the region was now well underway and was providing a much safer service.


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