Safe care ‘impossible’ in dangerous Limerick hospital working environment

Patients waiting on trolleys in the overcrowded emergency department at University Hospital Limerick.

WITH a record 130 patients on trolleys in University Hospital Limerick yesterday (Monday), a nurses representative has warned that safe care at the facility is “impossible”.

The record-breaking 130 figure, in a national context, represented almost 25 per cent of the nation’s overall number of people waiting  on trolleys for inpatient beds, and was almost three times higher than the hospital with the next highest overcrowding figures – Cork University Hospital, with 45 waiting on trolleys across the hospital.

INMO assistant director for Industrial Relations for the Mid West, Mary Fogarty said that the “record-breaking trolley figures in University Hospital Limerick comes as no surprise to our members who have been working in overcrowded and understaffed wards with no reprieve for years on end”. 

“The fact that there are more patients on trolleys across the hospital itself than in the emergency department itself is making the provision of safe and timely care impossible. Patient flow out of the emergency department is proving difficult because of the sheer volume of trolleys across the hospital. 

“Our members are burnt out and demoralised as a direct result of their working conditions. It is impossible for them to provide safe care in a working environment that is persistently dangerous. 

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“INMO members in the hospital met last week to discuss their grave concerns about their safety and that of their patients. INMO members feel that none of the interventions directed by hospital management have had any positive impact to date”.

The INMO representative said that hospital management and the Health Service Executive “must outline what targeted interventions they intend to carry out to take the pressure off our members for the sake of patient safety.”