HSE unit moves in to solve Limerick hospital overcrowding

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Health Minister Stephen Donnelly

A TEAM led by a specialist unit from the HSE is being established to implement specific actions to deal with overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick.

The establishment of the new group follows a review of unscheduled care at UHL carried out by HSE personnel in May and June.

The process will be led by the HSE Performance Monitoring and Improvement Unit (PMIU) who will implement a programme of work to respond more effectively to the current pressures.

The HSE team will be based in UHL for a period of four to six weeks.

The announcement was made after Health Minister Stephen Donnelly met with senior officials from his own department and the HSE, to discuss immediate responses to the pressures currently being faced by emergency departments across the country.

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Those discussions included a specific engagement around the emergency department at UHL in the context of the particular pressures being experienced by that hospital, and the recent reports by both the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) and the HSE expert team.

Minister Donnelly was told that the Chief Operations Officer of the HSE has written to both the chief executive of the University of Limerick Hospital Group and the chief officer of Mid-West Community Healthcare informing them that the PMIU has been mandated to engage urgently with the Hospital Group and the CHO under the HSE’s Performance Accountability Framework.

In a statement issued after the meeting,  Minister Donnelly said that the PMIU will “provide intensive support to both hospital and community teams to ensure that the issues identified in the recent assessment, and the HIQA report, are addressed as a matter of urgency”.

“While recognising that the programme of investment in hospital and community capacity in the region is ongoing, the PMIU will ensure that all necessary immediate steps are taken to address the safety issues identified, including chronic overcrowding.

“A detailed plan will be urgently developed to ensure that they do not reoccur. Such planning will include issues including; admission avoidance, pre admissions, community interventions and alternative pathways as well as issues regarding patient flow through the hospital and its emergency department” the statement added.

Minister Donnelly said he  welcomed this action and has made clear that all necessary immediate resources will be committed to ensure safe and appropriate levels of care are restored in Limerick without delay.