The Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) in Nenagh Hospital has not been closed due to staff shortages since the issue was initially raised in the Dáil by Deputy Jackie Cahill last May. Cahill’s original intervention followed a series of unexpected closures last Spring as the HSE had not appointed a full time consultant to the Unit, although similar units in UHL and St John’s Hospital in Ennis have a permanent team in place.
The Dáil heard today that the MAU continues to be understaffed and that the HSE is yet to appoint a permanent consultant and medical team to run the Unit on a full-time basis. In a recent Parliamentary Question response, received by Deputy Cahill, the HSE confirmed that works are ongoing to recruit a permanent team and consultant for the Unit. The same PQ also said that the Unit was closed previously due to patient safety concerns surrounding staff shortages.
In response to this PQ, the Fianna Fáil TD said in the Dáil today that: “Patient safety works both ways, and closing the Medical Assessment Unit means patients either stay at home or have to go directly to A&E. This is not a solution to the problem.
Deputy Cahill continued to highlight further staffing issues with the MAU, saying: “I now understand that the Registrar for Nenagh MAU finished up work last week also, leaving the MAU in Nenagh Hospital unsupported.”
“The HSE must immediately appoint a consultant, a registrar and a full support team on a permanent basis to Nenagh Hospital MAU.
“Patient safety must always remain a top priority, directly alongside not expecting doctors on the wards and outpatient units in Nenagh Hospital to juggle their extremely demanding jobs with keeping the MAU functioning.
Cahill concluded by calling for immediate HSE intervention on this issue that would see a full team appointed to Nenagh MAU “as a matter of the highest priority for Nenagh and north Tipperary.”