Management at Limerick Hospital in the firing line

An overcrowded emergency department is a common sight at University Hospital Limerick.

A CLAIM that the management team at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) is not up to the task of managing the hospital was made in the Dáil on Tuesday night.

During a debate on a Private Members Bill about the current state of the health service, Limerick Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan, raised the ongoing trolley crisis at UHL with Health Minister Stephen Donnelly.

He told the Minister that nurses had informed him that older people were dying unnecessarily at the hospital because they couldn’t get access to beds.

“I have been raising issues at UHL with successive Health Ministers since I was first elected in 2016. We have had 17,215 people on trolleys without a bed at the hospital this year and there seems to be no plan to get us out of this,” Deputy Quinlivan said.

“According to figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), 5,000 more people have been treated on hospital trolleys so far in 2022 than were treated in this manner in all of 2021. In November, 1,580 patients were treated on hospital trolleys.

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“National Treatment Purchase Fund figures show that 967 children and 8,146 have been wating more than 18 months for outpatient appointments at University Hospital Limerick.

Referring directly to the problems at the Limerick hospital, Deputy Quinlivan said: “I have had my difficulties with management at UHL in the past and I don’t believe they are up to the task. I have said this many times both to them and here.

“Waterford Hospital seems to have a good management structure, and this seems to have had an impact there.”

“There are capacity challenges at UHL with 76,473 people presenting in the emergency department in 2021 nobody doubts that.

“The reason I raise these figures is that they are not just numbers. These are often family members, friends and many older people who are treated on trolleys.

“The concern I have is that nurses have told me that older people at the hospital are dying unnecessarily because they are lingering on trolleys.

“The new unit at UHL will only deliver 48 additional beds to the hospital, which is nowhere near enough. Management anticipate that the presentations of people at the emergency department will exceed the 2021 figure by four per cent by the end of the year.

“There must be a critical emergency intervention. We have had HIQA reports, Deloitte Reports, huge numbers of reports, but this is no comfort to families with loved ones in the hospital”, he declared.