Shortage of doctors may force closure of A&E at Limerick Regional Hospital

ACCIDENT and emergency services at the Mid Western Regional Hospital may have to be curtailed from next month due to a shortage of doctors.

ACCIDENT and emergency services at the Mid Western Regional Hospital may have to be curtailed from next month due to a shortage of doctors.

According to weekend reports, the chairman of the hospital’s medical board Dr Sandy Fraser recently informed HSE boss, Cathal Magee, that patients attending accident and emergency from July 1 may have to be diverted to either Cork or Galway during night-time hours due to a chronic shortage of non-consultant hospital doctors.

Dr Fraser said it would not be possible to maintain accident and emergency services at the Limerick Regional 24 hours a day as due to a shortage.

According to Dr Fraser less than have of the positions required to man the accident and emergency department from July 1 have been filled at this stage. “We have repeatedly warned the HSE of the serious problems we face. Large volumes of medical and surgical work are going to have to be curtailed and this will all have a direct impact on patient care and patient safety,” he told the Sunday Business Post.

Responding to the claims, Michael Walsh, spokesman for the HSE Mid West, said the issue of the recruitment of non-consultant hospital doctors is “challenging one” which is being dealt with at a national level. “The public can be assured that the issue is receiving attention at the highest levels,” he told the Limerick Leader.

Mr Walsh added: “It is important to point out that the recruitment process is far from exhausted. Other avenues exist if needs be with regard to redeployment of doctors within the Mid West acute hospitals group.”