A RECORD high for the number of patients waiting on trolleys at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) was set this week, when figures from the INMO showed there were 70 admitted patients waiting for a bed.
This is the highest number since the nursing union began counting the numbers of waiting patients. On Tuesday, 46 people were on trolleys in the Emergency Department and a further 24 were waiting for an in-patient bed in overflow wards.
The numbers had decreased to 64 during the week.
Limerick Labour TD Jan O’Sullivan said she is “calling for funding to open all available beds in hospitals in the region, for extra step-down beds where they can be provided and for additional Home Care Packages. It needs an urgent interim response from Government.”
“No other region has the pressure we have and all other regions are better resourced for the populations they serve”.
In a statement, hospital management said “UL Hospitals Group sincerely regrets that any patient has to face long waits in our emergency department.
“The emergency department at UHL is one of the busiest in the country and the numbers presenting continue to increase year on year. Attendances to the end of December 2018 were 72,037 – an increase of 6.2 percent on 2017.
The statement said the emergency department was exceptionally busy in recent days.
“In the week between Monday, February 18 and Sunday, February 24, a total of 1,453 presented to the emergency department. In the 24-hour period to midnight on Monday, February 25, a total of 210 people attended the Emergency Department. We continue to see high volumes of frail elderly with complex medical conditions and regret that anyone faces long wait times while we prioritise the sickest patients. The Department is also seeing high volumes of surgical patients at present.
“We are again asking members of the public to please consider all their care options before presenting to the emergency department at UHL.
Injury units in Ennis and Nenagh are open from 8am to 8pm, and St John’s is open from 8am to 6pm for the treatment of broken bones, dislocations, sprains strains, wounds, scalds and minor burns.
“UHL has just over 450 inpatient beds; this is recognised as not being sufficient for the needs of the Mid West Region. The Group welcomes the commitment to increasing bed capacity at the hospital,” the statement concluded.