by Bernie English
FUNDING and resources are to be made available to University Hospital Limerick (UHL) to meet the rising demand for beds over the winter months.
That’s according to Limerick Fine Gael TD Deputy, Kieran O’Donnell who says he has secured the commitment in the Dáil from Taoiseach Micheál Martin that funding and resources will be made available to UHL under the HSE’s Winter Preparedness Plan, which runs until next March.
The news comes after a week which saw 95 patients on trolleys in the emergency department at UHL, which was the highest number ever for a single day.
During the order of business, Deputy O’Donnell raised the crisis situation at UHL with the Taoiseach, both in terms of the highest trolley count nationwide and the exceptionally high number of Covid-19 patients presenting.
Deputy Martin acknowledged the serious pressures in UHL and committed to the Government supporting the hospital.
“I highlighted to the Taoiseach that UHL has both trolley and Covid-19 crises in play, which is putting enormous pressures on an already over-burdened hospital during this winter period,” Deputy O’Donnell told the Limerick Post.
“With UHL consistently having the highest trolley count nationwide, coupled with the exceptionally high Covid-19 inpatients, I strongly stated the case for UHL to be immediately supported under the HSE’s winter preparedness plan to cope with these serious demands. These supports should cover areas like the recruitment of extra medical and nursing staff by UHL.
“I drew attention to the fact that currently UHL has 58 people on trolleys, with 56 Covid-19 inpatients. 13 of these Covid-19 patients were in ICU, making up 50 per cent of available high dependency acute beds, ” he said.
“The new 60 acute bed block is being used as a Covid-19 isolation ward rather than its expected use to alleviate bed capacity pressures for the normal non-Covid activities at UHL.
“The Taoiseach gave unequivocal support for UHL to be funded and resourced under the Government’s and HSE’s Winter preparedness plan to cope with the extreme pressures the hospital is experiencing.
“He also acknowledged the additional pressure the high Covid inpatient numbers were putting on UHL, particularly manifested in ICU pressures. He committed to the Government assisting UHL in every possible way to deal with the overcrowding crisis at the hospital to enable it to come through the difficult winter period,” Deputy O’Donnell concluded.