Dáil hears call for Monaghan Hospital Minor Injuries Unit expansion – Matt Carthy TD
The Dáil has heard a strong appeal for the opening hours at Monaghan Hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit to be expanded and for fees associated with MIU presentations to be scrapped.
Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, told Minister Stephen Donnelly that the Minor Injuries Unit should be utilised in order to ease pressure on both GP services and A&E departments. He was speaking on Tuesday evening last on a Sinn Féin private members motion which proposed measures aimed at addressing hospital waiting lists which now stand at almost 900,000 across the state.
In an important intervention to the debate the Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health, Waterford TD David Cullinane, supported Deputy Carthy’s call for investment in Minor Injuries Units and indicated that were he the Minister for Health he would prioritise such services.
In his remarks to the Dáil, Deputy Carthy, referenced the previous removal of services at Monaghan Hospital, stating that they continue to have serious negative repercussions.
He told the Dáil:
“There are now 1.34 milllion people in this state on health waiting lists.
“893,043 of those are on hospital waiting lists – it is an absolute scandal that has been decades in the making.
“It is the result of mismanagement, incompetence and a lack of political will to address the gross inequalities that lie at the heart of Ireland’s health service.
“This inequality is illustrated by that undeniable fact that access to healthcare is often determined by one’s wealth and where one lives.
“Week after week, I speak to people waiting for essential treatment for themselves or their children who have been blatantly told that if they can go private the care they need will be provided, virtually immediately.
“For those dependent on the public system they tell me; they also tell the government if they listen; that geography can determine the level of care they receive.
“All too many of the problems we face originate in the failure to deliver proper, working primary care services.
“In County Monaghan the decision of previous Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments to remove services from Monaghan Hospital continues to have serious negative repercussions.
“A&E services were withdrawn from Monaghan and resulted in drastic overcrowding at Cavan and Drogheda hospitals.
“A Minor Injuries Unit was eventually established – a great service that should serve to ease pressure on both GP practices and A & E departments.
“But the MIU only operates Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm; contrasted with most other Minor Injuries Units which operate 7 days a week, 8am to 8pm. On top of that, for non-GP referrals, there is now a fee of €75 for patients.
“The result of this, of course, has meant that numbers attending the MIU are now reducing; while the demands on GPs and A&E are growing.
“It is as if government policy is actively trying to make a bad situation worse.
“The Minister asked for practical solutions that can help ease the crisis in our health services.
“Here’s one: open all Minor Injuries Units, specifically Monaghan, to seven day week, long-hours services & remove the fees associated with MIU presentations.
“Governments refused to listen when we warned of the consequences of withdrawing services from local hospitals such as Monaghan – I sincerely hope they’ll listen now” Deputy Carthy concluded.
In his concluding remarks to the debate on the Sinn Féin motion, the party’s Health Spokesperson, David Cullinane TD, reinforced Matt Carthy’s call on the Minister to examine the MIU services. Deputy Cullinane later stated that if he were Minister for Health he would ensure that the Minor Injuries Unit at Monaghan were properly funded and resourced. He said he will continue to work with Matt Carthy and all elected representatives in Monaghan to increase the MIU services and abolish the €75 charge.