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Dublin: 10°C Monday 25 October 2021

Emergency department shutdown 'will worsen overcrowding' in Cork

A local doctor has expressed fears over the closure at the city’s South Infirmary, which was announced today.

The South Infirmary hospital in Cork
The South Infirmary hospital in Cork
Image: Google Maps

THE CLOSURE OF a hospital emergency department in Cork city will force patients to wait even longer to be treated, a local GP has said.

Dr Donncha O’Cuill said the removal of 24-hour facilities from the city’s South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital would make a “significant difference” to services which were already extremely busy.

The HSE announced this morning that the emergency department would be downgraded from January next year as part of a reconfiguration of hospital services in the city, Irish Health reports. Patients will be diverted the other emergency departments at Cork University Hospital and the Mercy Hospital.

Fianna Fáil health spokesperson Billy Kelleher has raised fears that the downgrade could seriously affect services at the other two hospitals, which he said were already under “serious strain”. He added:

The Minister is shutting down a city centre A&E at a time when we already have overcrowding problems at CUH. Around 15,000 patients visit the South Infirmary every year. These patients will now be forced to join the long queues at CUH and the Mercy Hospital, unless proper contingency plans are put in place.

Local GP Dr O’Cuill also told RTÉ’s Drivetime that the city’s emergency departments were already overcrowded. He said: “The difficulty is going o be that there are three emergency departments already extremely busy with long waiting times, and the likelihood is that that will grow even worse.”

Dr O’Cuill also expressed scepticism about the HSE’s plans to reorganise services in the area, saying: “My experience is that when resources are taken away, they don’t appear to be redeployed where they should be.”

A similar shutdown at Roscommon Hospital earlier this year sparked widespread protests.

Read more: Overcrowding making conditions “almost unbearable” in Galway hospital>

Read more: Protesters bid to save Loughlinstown emergency department>

About the author:

Michael Freeman

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