Cllr Anne Campbell: Minor Injuries Unit age limit delayed again

Cllr Anne Campbell

The long-promised reduction in the age of patients cared for at the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at the Louth County Hospital has been delayed yet again, according to Councillor Anne Campbell.

The Sinn Féin Councillor has revealed that “it could now be as late as the end of September before the MIU will be in a position to drop the age limit from its current 14 years to five.”

The news came after Cllr. Campbell asked a question about the facility at the Regional Health Forum meeting in Kells on Monday.

She said: “Sinn Féin TD Gerry Adams, along with Cllr. Tomás Sharkey, and I have been consistently asking when the MIU will drop the age limit after it was announced by Health Minister Simon Harris as far back as February last year.

“In November, when the Fine Gael leadership was in Louth, it was announced with a great fanfare that this would happen in the first quarter of 2018 but when that deadline passed, both Gerry Adams and I continued to ask when it would happen.

“We were subsequently told in March that the plan was to have the reduction in place by the end of June, but following my question to the RSCI Hospital Group, who run the Louth County, it has been revealed that it could be as late as September this year.

“This is a dreadful state of affairs for parents in the area, like myself, who have children under the current 14 years limit. Dozens and dozens are faced with travelling to Drogheda again this summer, despite the promises from Minister Harris and the Fine Gael party. Apart from anything else, lowering the age limit would alleviate the pressure on Drogheda hospital which is already overloaded and at breaking point.

“We will continue to press for the earliest possible introduction of this service and I intend to raise it once more at the next health forum meeting in July, where I will be asking what exactly the RCSI has been doing for the past 16 months to put this important measure in place. I Hope Minister Harris didn’t think he would make a grand announcement to grab a positive headline and then people would forget about it, because I can assure him, I am not letting this go. I will continue to pursue this until such times that 5 year old can be treated at the MIU in Louth Hospital.”

Louth MIU expansion in Jeopardy – Adams

Sinn Fein TD for Louth Gerry Adams has said that he is gravely concerned following confirmation from the HSE that commitments to expand the service provided by the Minor Injuries Unit at Louth County Hospital Dundalk are now in jeopardy.

The Louth TD said;

“Simon Harris came to Dundalk in November 2017 and announced that by February 2018 the Minor Injuries Unit at the Louth Hospital would begin seeing additional paediatric patients by reducing the current age threshold of 14 years old to 5 years old.

“In January I submitted a parliamentary question regarding the progress of this development and in response the RCSI Hospital Group, which runs health facilities in Louth, Meath and North Dublin, said: ‘It is envisaged that the Local Injuries Unit at the Louth County Hospital will be in a position to start seeing patients over five years of age with minor injuries in Quarter 2 2018. This change in practice remains dependent on staffing and appropriate staff mix’

“I submitted a further parliamentary question this month and the RCSI Hospital Group now tell me that the agreed start time for this service will be delayed due to ‘unanticipated resignations.’

“Furthermore the response goes on to state that ‘while the Louth Hospitals continue to endeavour to recruit the compliment of staff that is required to establish a safe level of service, they are not in a position to provide an updated time frame at this time.’

Cllr Anne Campbell

“From these responses it is clear to me that there is a real threat that this expanded service for those over 5 years old may never become operational.

“I am shocked that the Minister for Health would make such a grand announcement without any of the necessary ground work being complete.

“I have asked the Minister for Health what recruitment campaign has been undertaken to ensure that the staff are in place to operate this service and I urge him to honour the commitments he has made to Dundalk.

 

“My colleague councillor Anne Campbell will also be raising this matter at the next meeting of the Dublin North East Regional Health Forum, at which representatives of the RCSI Hospital Group will be present.”

Cllr Anne Campbell: Delay on MIU Unacceptable

Sinn Féin Councillor Anne Campbell has revealed that the planned reduction in the age limit for treatment at the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) at the Louth Hospital is already behind schedule.

In November 2017, Health Minister Simon Harris was visiting Louth and told Fine Gael politicians, that the reduction in age at the MIU, from 14 to 5 years, would happen in February this year.

Councillor Campbell, who is a member of the Regional Health Forum, pointed out this week, “that deadline is now well past. Minister Harris, during a visit to Louth, announced to great fanfare, his confidence that the MIU in Dundalk would see this reduction by February. The latest information I have received is that the age reduction will not now happen until some time in the second quarter of this year. This information was given to Gerry Adams TD following a Parliamentary Question.”

The response, from the RCSI Hospital Group which runs health facilities in Louth, Meath and North Dublin, says: ‘It is envisaged that the Local Injuries Unit at the Louth County Hospital will be in a position to start seeing patients over five years of age with minor injuries in Quarter 2 2018. This change in practice remains dependent on staffing and appropriate staff mix’.

Cllr Campbell said: “I am very concerned at this delay and the fact that the RSCI have not even set a proper date for the age reduction despite the February deadline having already been missed.”

Cllr Campbell also pointed out that “with over-crowding an almost daily occurrence at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, this age reduction will give parents, like myself with children under 14, the ability to get their minor injuries treated in the first-class MIU in Dundalk. The longer the age reduction is delayed, the more pressure is being heaped on an already overstretched A & E in Drogheda not to mention the stress for parents worried about having to take their child to Drogheda with a minor injury.”

Cllr Campbell has called for the “RSCI to now make the age reduction their top priority in this area and to get the staffing they say they need in place – they have already had plenty of time. We want to see Minister Harris follow through on his promise albeit late in the day.”