Fianna Fáil Senator Robbie Gallagher says he hopes that a Department of Health review of opening hours will result in the extension of services at the minor injuries unit at Monaghan Hospital.  Currently the unit only opens Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.

Senator Gallagher raised the issue with the Junior Health Minister Catherine Byrne in the Seanad this week.

“The minor injuries unit at Monaghan Hospital provides an excellent service to the people who are treated there.  Around 4,500 people passed through the doors in 2017 and in the first 10 months of this year, more than 4,000 people have used the service.  A recent HSE survey revealed that more than 91% of respondents stated they had had an excellent or very good experience at the unit.  This is a huge acknowledgement of the quality of staff and service in the unit”, said Senator Gallagher.

“Many people are unaware of the range of services available at the unit and the restricted opening hours are a major source of frustration.  It is worth noting that it has the shortest opening hours of all of the 11 minor injury units throughout the country, yet despite this, it treats more patients than some of the minor injury units which are open seven for seven days a week.

“The potential of this unit is not being maximised.  At a time of unprecedented waiting lists, it could be used to carry out certain routine and minor procedures.

“The opening hours also needed to be extended so that more people can attend the unit rather than having to travel to Cavan or to Drogheda out of hours.  Not only is it a major inconvenience for Monaghan people to have to travel a long distance following an accident, it increases the pressure on already busy Emergency Departments, when these minor injuries and ailments could be dealt with efficiently and effectively in the minor injuries unit.

“The latest figures from the Irish Midwives and Nurses Organisation show an increase in the number of people on trolleys in Cavan General Hospital between November 2017 and November 2018 – they’re up 107%, 56 to 116.  Longer opening hours at the minor injuries clinic in Monaghan could help relieve that pressure.

“I welcome the fact that a review on the opening hours is underway and I hope that common sense will prevail so that the minor injuries unit in Monaghan can operate on a full time basis”.