TAOISEACH Micheál Martin has said that the cabinet is “positively orientated” towards the development of an elective hospital in the Mid West Region to help alleviate the chronic overcrowding at University Hospital Limerick (UHL).
Responding to a question from Limerick Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea in the Dáil on Tuesday, Mr Martin stated that where acute hospitals like UHL are under unacceptable pressures and cannot cope, an elective only hospital is essential.
Such a hospital would be configured to deal with elective or scheduled care rather than unscheduled or emergency medical care.
Addressing the Taoiseach, Deputy O’Dea said that the recent report on University Hospital Limerick by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) made for grim reading.
“The bad news is that the situation has deteriorated further since the report was published. The Taoiseach did indicate to me here, on February 1, that he was in principle very much in favour of the idea of an elective-only hospital in the region to alleviate the situation.
“Has the Government taken any decision on that yet? If not, when will a decision be taken? he asked.
“We are suffering from discrimination in the Mid West. The medical facilities and the bed capacity available are insufficient to cater to the needs of the population”.
In response, the Taoiseach in response said: “Immediate work is needed in University Hospital Limerick, and it needs to continue. I know that certain governance measures are being taken and that a team from the HSE has visited the hospital.
“A formal decision has not yet come to the Cabinet, but we are positively orientated towards it. The new Government, when coming into office, inherited proposals in respect of Cork and Galway, which had not really been advanced to any great degree. They are now being advanced.
“The elective route is an essential one, particularly where acute hospitals like UHL are under unacceptable pressures and cannot cope,” Mr Martin added.