Seanad debates

Wednesday, 28 February 2024

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

Health Services

10:30 am

Photo of Martin ConwayMartin Conway (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

The Minister of State is very welcome to the House. I know he is taking this Commencement matter on behalf of the Minister for Health, Deputy Stephen Donnelly. Clearly we would have preferred to have him here to deal with it but the Minister of State is an able replacement, to be fair. I raised this matter in February 2023. There are hundreds of people in County Clare, from Loop Head to east Clare to north Clare and in Ennis and Shannon. Some travel from east Clare to Galway for dialysis while some travel from north Clare travel to Limerick. Dialysis is three to four days per week. If someone is going from Carran in County Clare to Limerick, we are talking about an hour and a half to two hours travelling, then four or five hours dialysis, and then another two hours to get home three or four days per week. The HSE provides taxis and transport to bring these people for their dialysis, either in Limerick or Galway. It makes absolute sense that a dialysis unit should be based in Ennis. It would transform the quality of life of hundreds of people in County Clare.

When I raised this before, it got some media coverage. I was struck by the number of people who contacted me to say they were on dialysis. Even for people in Ennis, who are using private transport to go to Limerick, if there was a unit in Ennis, it would make such a difference. When I raised this Commencement matter previously I was told a tender process was taking place but nothing has been heard since. We need the location and the date as to when this unit will open because for people on dialysis, every day they travel they think about how their lives can improve. It is not just them but their families are thinking about how their lives can improve. If you had a mother or father travelling for long journeys like that three or four days per week, of course you would be concerned and worried about them and would want to see more localised services.

This Government has provided a huge amount of resources for primary care. We have a beautiful primary centre in Ennis, which opened late last year. We have identified primary care centres for other parts of the county. This is a service that should be in primary care. There should be a dialysis unit in every county in the country because thousands of people require it. I am interested in finding out when the people of County Clare will see their dialysis unit opened in Ennis.


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