113 patients waiting on trolleys for hospital bed in Limerick today

Overcrowding has been a regular problem at UHL in recent years.

THERE were 113 admitted patients waiting for an in-hospital bed on trolleys and overflow wards this morning (Thursday) at University Hospital Limerick.

As many as 45 of those patients are waiting in the emergency department (ED) of the hospital and 68 in other areas, including overflow wards, according to Trolley Watch, a system whereby the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) report figures each weekday morning.

Under the HSE’s own system of counting, the number of patients waiting for an in-hospital bed are counted three times daily at 8am, 2pm, and 8pm. Acute hospitals report the number of patients in emergency departments awaiting admission to an inpatient hospital bed in a system known as TrolleyGar.

According to those figures, there were 66 patients awaiting a bed in UHL at 8am.

Both figures leave the Limerick acute hospital as the highest for any hospital in Ireland, with the next highest number of patients waiting for a bed in Cork University Hospital, where there are 60 patients, according to the INMO.

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The  INMO figure marks the 148th consecutive weekday in a row that University Hospital Limerick (UHL) has topped the overcrowding ranks, according to figures calculated by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s (INMO) Trolley Watch.

Hospital management has repeated acknowledged that the overcrowding situation in the UHL emergency department (ED) “is not the standard of care we want to offer”, and the hospital has activated the escalation plan to free up beds.

While building works are going ahead to provide further bed capacity at UHL, the hospital currently does not have sufficient bed spaces to cope with the huge population that it serves across Limerick, north Tipperary, and Clare.