Taoiseach says elective hospital is “the way to go” for Limerick

Taoiseach Micheál Martin is to pursue the issue of redundancy payments to the former Rehab workers

AN elective hospital is “the way to go” in Limerick to take the pressure off University Hospital Limerick (UHL).

That was the view of An Taoiseach Micheál Martin when he responded to Fianna Fáil TD Willie O’Dea in the Dáil last week.

The Limerick politician told the Taoiseach that the number of beds at University Hospital Limerick is insufficient to meet the needs of the population.

“Up to a few minutes ago, I had four complaints today already – now the number is up to five – about people interacting with University Hospital Limerick.

“The Taoiseach indicated in previous replies to me that he had some sympathy with the notion of an elective-only hospital for the Mid West, along with the hospitals in Galway, Cork, and Dublin.

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“The cause of the problem is the shortage of beds. The number in University Hospital Limerick is insufficient to meet the needs of the population. I want to find out whether there has been any discussion on this and when there will be a decision on it.

“Could the Taoiseach contact the Minister for Health and revert to me in writing? The crisis at University Hospital Limerick continues unabated and is causing a great deal of suffering and misery in the area. It is also generating a huge amount of anger,” Deputy O’Dea explained.

He also claimed that the people of the Mid West are suffering from discrimination. He hit out that the medical facilities and the bed capacity available are insufficient to cater to the needs of the population.

The Taoiseach agreed that the elective route would help UHL deal with waiting lists more expeditiously and efficiently for patients.

“I will talk to the Minister for Health about how we can fast-track that and have a proposal made on it,” he replied.

“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.

“In the past six months, in particular, Deputy O’Dea and others have brought forward the idea of an elective hospital for Limerick. I support this, but what concerns me is the degree to which we can get it through the health system more generally and more quickly.

“However, I believe the elective hospital route is the way to go. It takes pressure off the main hospital and gets waiting lists dealt with more expeditiously and efficiently for patients,” he added.