UHL shows highest number of patients on trolleys in the country in 2023

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

SO FAR this year to date, 20,027 patients have been treated on trolleys at University Hospital Limerick, making it the most overcrowded of any hospital in the country.

That’s according to Sinn Féin TD, Maurice Quinlivan, who based his figures on daily weekday reports from the Irish Nurse and Midwives Organisation (INMO)

Deputy Quinlivan hit out that “reaching this unwanted milestone is evidence of the ongoing failures of the Minister for Health”.

“Another unwanted historic milestone was achieved at University Hospital Limerick today with confirmation that 20,027 people have been treated so far in 2023 on hospital trolleys and in hospital hallways. This is the highest number of people to be treated on trolleys in one year at any hospital in the State ever. The figures vastly exceed 2022’s record 18,012 people treated in this manner, which in turn broke the previous year’s record,” he claimed.

“A failure to get to grips with rising hospitalisations puts great strain on the hospital. With capacity being exceeded daily, there is an inevitable knock-on impact on elective procedures both for inpatients and outpatients”.

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In response to the figures and Deputy Quinlivan’s remarks, a hospital spokesman told the Limerick Post: “We regret the impact on and inconvenience to admitted patients who have experienced long waits for inpatient beds in University Hospital Limerick. This is not the standard of care that we wish to provide, and we apologise to all patients, and their loved ones, who have been impacted by long waits.”

“As stated in the September 2022 Deloitte report on patient flow in UL Hospitals Group, inpatient bed capacity shortfall is the main driver of hospital overcrowding in the Mid West, and the problem of overcrowding will continue here until there is a substantial increase in bed capacity. The Deloitte report identifies a requirement for 302 additional inpatient beds and 63 day beds in this region by 2036.

“A recent analysis has shown UHL has had 13 per cent more attendances than other model 4 hospitals (average figures) so far this year. Attendances by patients aged 75 and over are seven per cent above average for Model 4 hospitals. UHL’s inpatient bed capacity is 14 per cent below average for Model 4 hospital,” the spokesman said.

Welcoming support for the ongoing bed expansion projects at UHL, the spokesman said: “We continue to follow our Escalation Framework to reduce pressure on the ED and improve patient flow across our sites.”