Letter from 87 Limerick hospital medics highlights need for Government action

Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick.

THE publication of a letter signed by 87 doctors and consultants condemning  conditions at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) is further evidence of the need for direct and immediate government intervention at the hospital.

That’s the view of Limerick Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan who said that the letter published in The Irish Times yesterday was “extremely welcome but very concerning”.

“It points to an increasingly demoralised staff that is resulting in ongoing problems with recruitment and retention at the hospital,” Deputy Quinlivan explained.

“The doctors highlighted the extreme levels of overcrowding and relentless demand on their services over the past ten years and that the UL Hospitals Group is not adequately resourced to deal with the volume of emergency presentations.

“The ongoing issues originate from the Fianna Fail’s Government’s poorly resourced reconfiguration of hospital services in the Mid-West and the failure to deliver the 640 beds needed to support this reconfiguration.

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“In 2022 there were over 79,000 presentations at the emergency department at UHL which, when built in 2017, was designed for a maximum attendance of 190 patients per day. The letter stated that there are now more than 240 patients seen at the emergency department every day.

“This is not sustainable, as there are only 530 in-patient beds in the unit. UL Hospital Group management have acknowledged that they need at least 200 more beds to meet the national average,” the Limerick TD added.

“I commend these health professionals for raising their concerns in such a public way, I’m sure most of them would prefer to focus on delivering proper healthcare than having to publicise the problems in UHL in the media.

“The staff at UHL work in very challenging circumstances and this cannot be allowed to continue. Working in these cramped conditions is neither good for our health professionals or for the care and dignity of patients.”

“I support the call of these 87 consultants in their request for urgent intervention and for increasing the use of our model two hospitals in a safe and clinically effective manner.

Following last Saturday’s protest march, it is no longer tenable for the Minister for Health to dismiss the legitimate concerns of the people and hospital professionals in the Mid-West,” Deputy Quinlivan concluded.