Fine Gael concern over hospital crisis in Limerick

by Alan Jacques

image1LIMERICK Fine Gael councillors met with Health Minister Leo Varadkar last Friday after his visit to University Hospital Limerick (UHL) where he spent seven hours meeting with hospital staff and patients.

At a closed meeting in the South Court Hotel, the Minister went on to address a packed meeting of local Fine Gael members.

Fine Gael council group leader Cllr John Sheahan explained, “We were anxious to meet with the Minister to raise our deep concerns over the problems at UHL. We heard many stories from the people we represent and indeed staff of the hospital and we wanted to share those with the Minister.”

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“To be fair to the Minister he was anxious to meet us to hear what we had to say. The meeting while friendly was frank and open. We left the Minister in no doubt of the anger and frustration of the people of Limerick with conditions in UHL. We were also anxious to offer some possible solutions to the problems and we did that,” said Cllr Sheahan.

Minister Varadkar, who was in Limerick to open the new critical care unit in UHL, also met with patients and staff. Some groups of nurses said they spoke with him for up half an hour allowing them to share their concerns and frustrations directly with the minister.

Cllr Sheahan continued; “We felt we got strong assurances from the Minister that he will address the challenges in the emergency department, particularly as they relate to the young and old. He acknowledged that having older patients in trolleys was detrimental to their health and he committed to make this a priority.”

Cllr Sheaha said that the group of Fine Gael councillors, which included Daniel Butler, Tom Neville, Marian Hurley, Stephen Keary and Michael Sheahan, left the meeting feeling they were listened to but that they had a lot more work to do.

“We were direct as a group in our concerns but practical. We heard some practical solutions but we are in no doubt we have a long way to go. If we need to meet the minister again, even after that lengthy meeting, we know the door is open to us,” said Cllr Daniel Butler.