by Kathy Masterson
LIMERICK City West councillor and Regional Health Forum West member Malachy McCreesh has received unanimous backing from the forum for his recent motion calling for extra staffing for the accident and emergency department at University Hospital Limerick.
The Sinn Féin councillor is calling on the HSE to increase the recruitment profile for nurses, junior doctors and the associated support staff at the A&E department.
Cllr McCreesh stated: “The continuing crisis in the Emergency Department will only be solved in the short term with an increase in appropriate staffing and a permanent increase in bed capacity. The planned opening of the new Emergency Department is behind schedule and there is now concern that further slippage from the target date is now a possibility.
“Although the UL Hospital Group are still working towards completion of the new ED by end of 2016, the fact that the public works contract for this building is only anticipated to be awarded by July 2015 must cast doubt with regard to achieving this goal.”
Cllr McCreesh said the increase in overcrowding at the UHL emergency department compared to the figures for 2014 is “a major cause for concern” during a time of year when trolley figures would be expected to decrease.
He concluded: “In order to prevent any further deterioration of the current services, there is an immediate need for additional staffing in the Accident and Emergency department and a need to permanently increase bed capacity at UHL Dooradoyle. Ennis and Nenagh hospitals need to be fully involved in any process introduced to relieve the obvious, chronic pressure on the A&E at Dooradoyle.”