WITH the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation reporting a record high number of 1,829 patients treated on trollies at University Hospital Limerick last month, the Government has been warned that patients and staff are facing into a very bleak and challenging winter.
The warning came from Limerick Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan who said that the INMO figures were “simply not acceptable” and showed that the government had failed Limerick by its failure to address the problems at the emergency department in UHL.
“Every month of this year, the numbers have increased and ever month has been a record high. Patients and staff at UHL are reaching their limit. There is only so much our medical professionals can do when they are continually having to treat patients in conditions that are not appropriate and, in many cases, not safe.
“There is an immediate need for increased capacity at the hospital. The recent HIQA inspection report showed that there is a litany of issues that need to be addressed at UHL. The promised 96-bed unit is still some 18 months away from being completed and when it is, it will offer only 48 additional beds,” Deputy Quinlivan explained.
“The UHL emergency department doesn’t have the capacity to cater for all presentations and this has a knock-on effect across the hospital. Elective surgeries are cancelled, and the hospital operates in a state of perpetual crisis.
“There are some huge problems at the hospital, but these are not insurmountable. There is a clear need for both an increase in capacity and for an increase in the recruitment of staff.
“A recent reply to a Parliamentary Question acknowledged that UHL is short 68 non-consultant hospital doctors and at least 200 beds.
“This crisis is not something that has hit us out of the blue. The trolley crisis at UHL has been years in the making. Hospital management has been failing patients, their families, and staff for far too long.
“We need fundamental change, and this can only come from an immediate government intervention. No other hospital in State has been abandoned like UHL has been for years. It is an utter scandal”
“Without immediate and targeted intervention now, patients and staff at UHL face a very bleak and challenging winter,” Deputy Quinlivan declared.