Ray McIntyre from Mullingar and Laura and Jean O’Neill from Delvin protesting outside Midlands Regional Hospital Mullingar last month.

Protest at Mullingar hospital confirmed for January 21 as part of national day of action

A protest is set to take place at Midlands Regional Hospital Mullingar on Saturday, January 21, as part of a national day of action to demand an end to capacity cuts in the health service.

The date of the national day of action was confirmed at a meeting last evening, Monday January 9, that was attended by activists from across the country and chaired by Deputy Peadar Tóibín, chair of the Save Navan Hospital Campaign.

In a statement released today, Deputy Tóibín said that representatives from hospital campaigns from Navan, Drogheda, Daily Hill, Newry, Monaghan, Cavan, Causeway Coast, Colraine, Letterkenny, Mayo General, Mullingar and the midwest met to organise the National Hospitals Campaign Day of Action on January 21. Hospital Campaigns in Enniskillen, Sligo, Cork, Kerry, Bantry and Wexford are also considering getting involved.

He says that activists "believe that we may be reaching a turning point".

"The HSE has spent the last 15 years closing eight A&Es and thousands of hospital beds. Primary care and step-down facilities have been allowed to corrode to the point of dysfunction. We are urging citizens to come out in numbers on the twenty first of January.

"The latest cut by the HSE, the ambulance bypass of Navan Hospital implemented in Meath just before Christmas is leading to chaos. Patients from Meath are being brought by ambulance to Drogheda. They are being triaged in Drogheda. They are then being sent back to Navan A&E for treatment by ambulance or by taxi. If they are being brought by taxi a medical professional has to accompany them and then that medical professional is traveling back to Drogheda by taxi. What should be a single patient journey to A&E now takes three individual journeys. Patients from as far as Dunboyne in Meath are being brought to A&E in Mullingar instead of Navan A&E leading to pressure on Mullingar Hospital.

"If you were to design the most inefficient and wasteful pathways for a patient to get to an A&E this would be it. Incredibly a government minister appeared on television recently pointing to Navan A&E as an example of an A&E that is working well. This just three weeks after the HSE latest attempt to close Navan A&E. No one in the HSE is ever held to account for their bureaucratic nightmare," Deputy Tóibín said.