UNIVERSITY Hospital Limerick had more than double the number of any other hospital for admitted patients waiting on trolleys and in overflow wards for a hospital bed in May.
According to figures released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s (INMO)Trolley Watch, there were 1,823 emergency patients admitted to UHL left waiting for beds.
That’s out of more than 8,680 patients have been without a bed in Irish hospitals last month.
The figures come as the trolley count rose to 118 patients waiting on Monday and the hospital deferring all but the most time critical elective surgeries, proceedures, diagnostic tests and outpatient appointments for three days this week.
Commenting n the situation on Monday, INMO Assistant Director of Industrial Relations, Mary Fogarty said: “A recent report of an inspection by the Health and Safety Authority of the Emergency Department in UHL reinforced that a fire safety report of the hospital stating that there should be no trolley parking in areas of the hospital. Staff are reporting that this is not being adhered to.”
UHL was the most overcrowded hospital in May, followed by Cork University Hospital (898 patients), Sligo University Hospital / Galway University Hospital (761 patients), St. Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny (637 patients) and St. Vincent’s University Hospital (509 patients)
INMO General Secretary, Phil Ní Sheaghdha said, “Yet again, University Hospital Limerick is the most overcrowded hospital in the State. Nurses there are reporting that they are under tremendous pressure and are completely overwhelmed by the conditions they are working in day in and day out. Nurses right across the country are reporting high levels of burnout.
“The HSE Emergency Taskforce should convene in Limerick, so all members can see first-hand the suboptimal conditions that healthcare staff are working in and make recommendations on improving conditions in the country’s most overcrowded Emergency Department.
“The Minister for Health must make good on his proposed expert review of University Hospital Limerick. It has been over a month since he announced a review would take place, yet no terms of reference have been published or meetings have been scheduled with this union.
“Nurses and other healthcare staff cannot be expected to sustain this type of pressure all throughout the summer. If the Government and HSE are serious about retaining those who already work in the health service, meaningful action must be taken to ensure safe care conditions for both patients and staff. No nurse wants to have to care for patients in sub-optimal conditions.