INMO says overcrowding at UHL is “out of control”

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UHL emergency department

THE Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation has called for an independent review of the overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick and for direct ministerial intervention.

The hospital broke the national record yesterday with 95 patients waiting on trolleys; today it was once again the most overcrowded hospital in the country with 70 patients awaiting beds.

INMO Assistant Director of Industrial Relations, Mary Fogarty said: “Since the beginning of November, we have seen 891 patients on trolleys in University Hospital Limerick, with record overcrowding this week.

“When our members sounded the alarm on persistently dangerous overcrowding coupled with Covid-19 back in July, we called for direct ministerial intervention, which Minister Donnelly at the time stated was not required. The situation in Limerick has worsened since we first made the call.

“Despite 100 extra beds opening in Limerick this year, it has made no dent in the record overcrowding. Our members are at their wits’ end and their morale is on the floor.”

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INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha added: “The situation in University Hospital Limerick is out of control. The INMO is once again calling for HIQA to investigate what is going on in the hospital and make clear recommendations.

“The overall picture in our hospitals is a bleak one. Covid cases and hospitalisations are at a dangerous level and this is coupled with the number of patients on trolleys in many hospitals at pre-pandemic levels.

“The HSE and Minister for Health have both stated that overcrowding won’t be tolerated, yet here we are with 428 people on trolleys today. It is not acceptable when so many nurses are out on Covid-related leave.

“We are urgently calling on the HSE and Minister for Health to now curtail elective procedures in our acute hospitals and come to some agreement to obtain capacity from our private hospitals.

“Our members have been firefighting on so many fronts since January 2020, the State must do everything we can to ensure that they are carrying out their duties in a safe environment.”