Health Minister and HSE boss to make crisis visit to UHL before protest group marches on health chief’s offices

University Hospital Limerick

HEALTH Minister Stephen Donnelly and HSE boss Bernard Gloster are expected to make a crisis visit to University Hospital Limerick (UHL) this Thursday over their concerns about chronic patient overcrowding and patient deaths at the hospital.

It comes on back of recent reporting of an unpublished investigation by an internal UHL Systems Analysis Review (SAR), which found that overcrowding in the UHL emergency department was a fundamental factor in the death of 65-year-old UHL patient Martin Abbott (65) from Shannon in December 2019.

Mr Abbot’s inquest, which took place at Limerick Coroner’s Court last week, heard he fell off a trolley in a cubicle in the crowded emergency unit and was dead on the floor for in the region of an hour before he was found.

The Sunday Independent reported that Mr Abbott could not be ventilated by a doctor as rigor mortis had set in.

The HSE and the UL Hospitals Group, which runs UHL and five other hospital in the Mid West region, apologised for its failings in Mr Abbots care.

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Many in the region believe the 2009 reconfiguration of 24-hour emergency department services across North Tipperary and County Clare into UHL has fuelled patient overcrowding.

A major voice in the call to reopen the emergency departments (EDs) in Ennis, St John’s, and Nenagh hospital, the Mid-West Hospital Campaign (MWHC) said it will host a protest march on April 13 in Limerick to highlight the region’s hospital crisis and mark the 15th anniversary of the closure of the region’s three EDs.

It said a convoy of vehicles will also set off from Ennis, Nenagh, Limerick, travelling through the Treaty City on its way past UHL before converging on the offices of Mr Golster and the UL Hospitals Group in the Raheen Industrial Estate.