Limerick emergency department serves biggest population

The emergency department at UHL.

NEW regional health areas scheduled for implementation in 2024 will still leave Limerick and the Mid West with just one hospital emergency department to serve a population of 390,000.

That’s according to information received through a Dáil question by Social Democrats co-leader Roisin Shortall and published by the Mid West Hospital Campaign (MWHC).

According to the figures, UHL is the only emergency department to serve a population of that size, with other new regions having as many as five emergency department.

More importantly, only the Mid West region has to serve so many people with just one emergency department.

Other areas have enough level four hospitals and emergency departments to serve between 144,000 and 180,000 people each.

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The new regional healthcare areas “do not seem to have taken into account the number of level four hospitals that each region has for the population,” Noleen Moran of the MWHC told the Limerick Post.

After a damning inspection report from the Health Information and Quality Authority last year, Ms Moran said that “management at the hospital promised they would explore the possibility of having a model 3 hospital for the region. There has been no progress on that or on promises to develop a short, medium, and long term plan to deal with the emergency department crisis.”

“If there is to be a long term plan they need to get moving on it now,” she added.

A level 3 hospital is one which would have an emergency department with links to a level 4 acute hospital and the ability to deal with certain types of emergency care.

The MWHC point out that the figures they have used to demonstrate the huge demand being placed on UHL are official government figures.

The MWHC have also now teamed up with social campaign group Uplift to launch an email campaign “to lobby the region’s Oireachtas members for support to get local hospitals upgraded and our emergency departments reopened”. 

It has been launched in response to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s announcement of plans to visit UHL in the coming weeks, and it calls on all Oireachtas members in the region to demand the Taoiseach meet with the Midwest Hospital Campaign. 

“We believe the Taoiseach should meet the families impacted by the overcrowding, their experiences should inform policy decision making.”

Ms Moran said the campaign has written on their own behalf, asking the Taoiseach to meet with them when he visits.

“We haven’t received a response as yet but we really feel it is important for him to hear us. People we love are dying and people in this region are suffering because they cannot access proper medical care.”

Details on the group’s new email campaign can be found here