A and E closures 'more likely now than at any time in last decade'

Overcrowded emergency departments will come closer to being shut down next month than at any point in the last 10 years, according to a Cork-based consultant.

Dr Chris Luke said there was now a real fear that some A and E departments may have to shut their doors, due to staffing concerns being voiced by the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine.

The group said problems recruiting qualified doctors meant hospitals were facing a "staffing meltdown" in those departments.

"Only for absolutely heroic measures on the part of the residual nursing staff and medics, we really should have closed (on a number of occasions)…The possibility is it will be more necessary next month than at any time in the last 10 years.

"If HIQA went into every emergency department, I think we would be really very taken aback by their findings."

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