Issues at Limerick Hospital must be resolved before winter surge

Maurice Quinlivan
Limerick Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan

HEALTH Minster Stephen Donnelly has been asked to ensure the capacity and staffing issues at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) are addressed in advance of the expected surge in admissions over the coming months.

During a Dáil debate on Wednesday Limerick Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan said that the number of people being treated on trollies at UHL was already unacceptably high.

“By the beginning of August, we had already exceeded the total number of people treated on these trollies in the entirety of 2021. Halfway through November, we had 783 people treated on trollies.

“Covid-19 and seasonal flu presentations will put additional pressure on the staff at UHL. We have record numbers being treated on trollies, and high numbers presenting at the emergency department.

“None of this is new as I have been outlining the situation for years, but it doesn’t get better. It gets worse,” the Limerick TD declared.

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“Staff cannot continue to work this way and patients need to be offered more dignity when they unfortunately need assistance at a hospital. I have a real concern that if this situation perpetuates, we will have avoidable deaths and avoidable accidents.

“The Deloitte Report found that an additional 302 inpatient beds and 63-day care beds are needed by 2036. It also outlined a demand for additional staffing at the emergency department with 83 per cent of beds allocated to those who presented through the emergency department,” he explained.

“There have been catastrophic failures at the hospital, and these cannot continue.  The winter plan was launched too late. Pandemic bonus payments were announced in January and still thousands remain without them. Government needs to address the capacity, staffing and management issues at the hospital.

“There is no plan to end the crisis at UHL and unless we get to grips with this the people of Limerick and the Mid-West will continue to suffer because of Government inaction and failure to act,” Deputy Quinlivan concluded.