Minister “presiding over escalating crisis” at University Hospital Limerick – Collins


Andrew Carey

THE Minister for Health, James Reilly TD has been “presiding over and escalating crisis” at the University Hospital Limerick after a HIQA report revealed the accident and emergency facility was deemed “not fit for purpose”, according to Limerick TD Niall Collins.

The Fianna Fáil TD says he is appalled at a HIQA report which states that the emergency department in University Hospital Limerick is ‘not fit for purpose’. He added that concerns raised repeatedly by hospital staff about the poor patient conditions at the A&E have consistently being ignored and instead of addressing these issues, the HSE slashed the budget for the hospital by €11 million this year.

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“It is shocking and appalling to read the words ‘persistent overcrowding’, ‘unacceptable’ and ‘not fit for purpose’ in a HIQA report on the A&E department at University Hospital Limerick.

The report found that there were also delays in transferring patients from the Emergency Department to the Intensive Care Unit and the High Dependency Unit, partly due to the absence of a single clinical governance structure.

HIQA said the conditions experienced by patients attending the Emergency Department were unacceptable.

It found the department overcrowded and not fit for purpose.

The report also said that emergency response ambulances were being significantly delayed when waiting to transfer patients from the ambulance trolley to an ED trolley at the hospital.

“The chronic lack of funding and resources at the hospital cannot be allowed to continue. Patients’ lives are literally being put at risk on a daily basis and this must stop”, added the Limerick TD.

“Overcrowding and cramped conditions at the hospital has been a problem for a number of years and the HSE’s answer was to slash funding to the hospital by €11 million this year. Staff at the hospital have pleaded with the HSE to put in place measures to address overcrowding at the hospital, but they have been ignored.

“The HIQA report paints a bleak and distressing picture of the quality of service for patients at the hospital. Patients’ complaints are being ignored.

“The report also highlights how grossly mismanaged the HSE budget has been and how out of his depth the Minister for Health is. How can we continue to have a lame-duck Health Minister, seemingly on his way out, at the helm when the health service is in crisis?

“There are due to be over €600 million in cuts from the Health budget this year, but where can these savings be made if, for example, University Hospital Limerick is experiencing such problems?

“What we need to see is the speedy construction of the new A&E department at University Hospital Limerick, any further delays will not be acceptable.

“The people of Limerick and the staff at the hospital who have been put under extreme pressure and they deserve more than this from the Government, our most sick and needy have been grossly neglected and I intend to raise this matter in the Dáil with the Minister for Health next week” he concluded.