WITH University Hospital Limerick recording its highest ever monthly total of patients without beds, the government has been asked to take immediate steps to address the ongoing overcrowding crisis.
Figures for February show that 1,561 patients were treated on trolleys at the Dooradoyle hospital and this has been described by Limerick Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan as a ‘terrible milestone’.
“For anyone to be treated on a trolley in a hospital hallway is simply not good enough but for 1,561 patients to be treated on trolleys in one month is a disaster,” he said.
“I have called on the government to expedite the construction of the new 96 bed unit and for this to be quickly followed by two other similar units that have been committed to. These constructions must happen as a priority.
“The figures for January were much lower than for January 2022 because management at UHL declared a major internal incident. This shows that these figures can be controlled for the betterment of patient care and the staff working environment,” he explained.
“Unfortunately, once that incident was declared over, the figures increased dramatically to the extent that more people were on trolleys in February than for the same month last year.
“The issues at UHL are persistent and show very little sign of improving. Patients and staff are suffering as a result. There is only so much our medical professionals can do when they are continually having to treat patients in conditions that are not appropriate.
“The trolley numbers don’t just impact those who are on them. They also impact the nurses and medical professionals who have to treat those patients and they have a knock-on effect on outpatient appointments, many of which are regularly cancelled.
“UHL remains significantly short of the number of non-consultant hospital doctors and the emergency department doesn’t have the capacity to cater for all presentations.
“There are some huge problems at the hospital, but these can be addressed. This crisis is not something new that has suddenly come upon us, it has been with us for years now. We need, and the patients and staff deserve, change, and this can only come from an immediate government intervention,” Deputy Quinlivan added.