UHL urges patients to consider other treatment paths as 124 people on trolleys

University Hospital Limerick

THE EMERGENCY Department at University Hospital Limerick (UHL) has issued an appeal to patients who can get treatment elsewhere to do so, as 124 admitted patients were reported to be on trolleys this morning (Wednesday September 27) at the Dooradoyle hospital.

The trolley figures come according to the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s (INMO) Trolley Watch, and matches the highest number recorded so far this year (124) previously reported in May.

The current record of patients waiting on trolleys at UHL came in April 2022, with 126 reported as waiting for valuable bedspace in the hospital.

The hospital is pointing to a run on ED services across Monday and Tuesday of this week as the cause of the trolley jam.

In a statement, a spokesperson for UHL said that “patients with less urgent healthcare needs today are asked to attend Injury Units and consider all other healthcare options before attending the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick, which is currently managing very high emergency attendances and admissions”.

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“With 269 ED attendances on Tuesday, and 276 on Monday, the hospital is in a high state of escalation, and people whose healthcare needs are less than acute will face long waits in ED as our teams work to priortise elderly patients and those in need of immediate emergency care.”

The hospital apologised to patients who are experiencing long waits for an inpatient bed.

“We are working to the Group’s Escalation Framework in a continued effort to create surge capacity and maximise inpatient beds across our sites, and balance the high demand for emergency care with the safe delivery of time-critical and other elective activity,” the statement said.

Anyone with a serious injury or unexpected illness should attend the ED or call 999/112. Those who are less than acutely unwell should first consider the Injury Units in Ennis, Nenagh, or St John’s hospitals, as well as GPs, out-of-hours GP services, and their local pharmacies, hospital bosses said.

Representatives for UHL added that extra ward rounding is ongoing in UHL so that appropriate patients can be discharged or transferred to Ennis, Nenagh, and St John’s hospitals.

“We are also working with our colleagues in HSE Mid West Community Healthcare in order to further expedite suitable discharges home or to community care beds,” the statement said.