HSE exploring possible purchase of Barrington’s hospital

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar arriving at University Hospital Limerick.

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has revealed that the HSE is exploring the possibility of purchasing Barrington’s Hospital in Limerick City Centre for use as a surgical diagnostic hub.

He was speaking after turning the sod on a 150-bed private hospital development at Ballysimon to be operated by the Bon Secours Health System (BSHS) which owns the Barrington’s site.

The new hospital would not only help alleviate the overcrowding crisis at UHL but would also open up the possibility of the HSE acquiring Barrington’s.

Mr Varadkar acknowledged the Mid-West region was “under pressure in terms of health” but he remained hopeful there was now a definite pathway forward for additional bed capacity.

“UHL has very big problems with overcrowding and the patients don’t get the kind of care they deserve or are entitled to. Seriously ill patients waiting for hours on trolleys is not acceptable as it can result in reduced patient outcomes as well as reduced dignity and privacy.

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“However, once you get through the access problems and get a bed, people get a really high standard of care here,” he added.

During his Limerick visit, the Taoiseach met with relatives of those affected by overcrowding at the emergency department at UHL.

Among them was Limerick woman Melanie Sheehan Cleary whose 21-year-old daughter Eve Cleary died in UHL of cardiac arrest caused by blood clots in 2019.

Her inquest was told she spent 17 hours on a trolley without being assessed for blood clots despite presenting with several risk factors.

Ms Sheehan Cleary said Mr Varadkar pledged to “look into” a request she made for a third party investigation into the circumstances surrounding her daughter’s care at UHL.

“I found the Taoiseach to be extremely warm, where Eve’s story was concerned,” she said.

“I’ve always looked for an outside investigation into my daughter’s death, and he assured me he will look into it. I’m hopeful that something good for our family will come out of this and we will get some peace. Eve’s death has changed our lives completely”.