Prospect of new 30-bed unit to alleviate pressure on Limerick A&E

Deputy Kieran O'Donnell
Deputy Kieran O’Donnell

FOLLOWING a meeting with Health Minister Leo Varadkar on the A&E situation at University Hospital Limerick, Dail Deputy Kieran O’Donnell is now hopeful that a new unit will be urgently put in place to relieve some of the pressures ahead of new A&E facilities opening in 2016.

The Limerick Fine Gael TD held a special meeting with Minister Varadkar last week to discuss the provision of a new 30-bed short-stay unit to alleviate pressure on A&E Facilities at University Hospital Limerick.

According to Deputy O’Donnell, Minister Varadkar expressed “extreme concern” at the A&E situation in Limerick and has also commissioned a HSE report with a view to alleviating pressure on the hospital’s A&E facilities following meetings with director general of the HSE, Tony O’Brien.

“This is an interim measure until the new A&E facilities are open in 2016. We have two winters to get through and if you look at the trolley figures for August this year, they are double what they were in August 2013,” said Deputy O’Donnell.

The Limerick politician said interim measures would involve converting the existing Acute Medical Assessment Unit, which is near the current A&E into a dedicated 30-bed short-stay unit. The Medical Assessment service will instead be delivered in another unit adjacent to the A&E.

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“These are very significant steps towards delivering a solution that will address overcrowding in A&E. I impressed on the Minister the unique circumstances here, where the entire region depends on a single A&E that has been described by HIQA as ‘not fit for purpose’,” he commented.

Deputy O’Donnell insists that Minister Varadkar is committed to addressing the A&E situation in Limerick. Further discussions are due to take place in the coming weeks as the proposal progresses.

“There is a window of opportunity to move on this before the winter arrives. I strongly believe that Limerick patients should get the best of emergency care, and that this proposal is the route to achieve that until our new state-of-the-art facilities are open,” he concluded.