Safety concerns raised as 118 patients left without beds at Limerick hospital

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Mary Fogarty, INMO Assistant Director of Industrial Relations

THE Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) has expressed concerns around staff and patient safety in University Hospital Limerick as 118 patients were left without a bed in the hospital this morning.

The number of patients on trolleys in University Hospital Limerick today represented more than 25 per cent of the total number of patients on trolleys across the country which stood at 468 today.

INMO Assistant Director of Industrial Relations, Mary Fogarty said that it felt like Groundhog Day for the staff, patients, and wider community at University Hospital Limerick today with 118 patients without a bed.

“So far in May we have seen over 1,728 patients without a bed in the hospital. This is not normal and should not be accepted as such,”Ms Fogarty declared.

“The INMO is very concerned about the safety of staff and patients in the hospital. A recent report of an inspection by the Health and Safety Authority of the Emergency Department at UHL reinforced that a fire safety report of the hospital stating that there should be no trolley parking in areas of the hospital.

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“Staff are reporting that this is not being adhered to.

“The report of the HSA into improving safety conditions in UHL has been with senior management in the HSE since September 2021. We have had 7,932 patients so far on trolleys in UHL since the beginning of January with little action from the HSE except the commissioning of an expert review into the hospital, which has yet to commence.

“This means very little to the nurses on the ground who are at the end of their tether.

“Over the weekend in UHL, many patients were waiting more than fourteen hours to be admitted, many over the age of 75. The basic care needs of patients cannot be met in environments like this.

“INMO members in University Hospital Limerick are reporting significant work-related stress due to the persistent overcrowding and inability of provide appropriate care to all admitted patients. They are exhausted, overwhelmed and burnt out.

“As well as trying to deal with a completely unsafe environment they also are dealing with public dissatisfaction and impatience with the situation in the hospital. They also have serious concerns for the safety of patients and have advised management repeatedly of this.

“The HSE’s Emergency Taskforce should be convened urgently to discuss the persistent overcrowding in UHL and emergency departments right across the country.

“The situation in UHL has been allowed to fester for too long. We need to see real, meaningful short, medium, and long-term action. Patients, nurses, midwives, and the wider hospital community deserve so much better,” Ms Fogarty concluded.