Limerick Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan has said that the overcrowding crisis at the emergency department in University Hospital Limerick is showing no signs of being resolved with 878 people on trolleys during the month of November.
“So far this year, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation have recorded 91,147
patients on trolleys across the country and while the number has fallen by 7 per cent nationally in November, Limerick continues to buck the trend with an 11 per cent increase in overcrowding levels.
“When the number of people on trolleys in UHL hit 902 people in September, I asked for the Minister to personally intervene to address this problem. Clearly, this hasn’t happened,” Deputy Quinlivan declared.
“I fear that the action needed will only happen after a tragedy occurs due to the overcrowding levels and, by that stage, it will be too late. I am constantly raising the issues facing University Hospital Limerick in the Dáil, but this government is not listening.
“Prior to the opening of the new emergency department, I raised the issue of trolley use with Minister McGrath in the Dáil, and he said ‘there is no basis for any suggestion that 24 patients will be accommodated on trolleys in the new emergency department’.
“There actually was a basis for this suggestion, because apart from just two days in the last month, the numbers on trolleys exceeded 24 each day, hitting a dangerous high of 69 people last Wednesday,” he added.
“The huge numbers on hospital trolleys is becoming a monthly occurrence and radical action is needed in four main areas; recruitment and retention of staff, reopening closed beds, adequate step down facilities and proper primary and community care.
“In July, Health Minister Simon Harris contacted UHL to criticize management over the ongoing crisis in the emergency department. Four months have passed and the situation worsens on an almost daily basis.
“The €335 million tax giveaway Fine Gael prioritised in Budget 2018 would have gone a long way in addressing this crisis in our health system,” Deputy Quinlivan concluded.
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