Oireachtas Health Committee meets at UHL today

University Hospital Limerick

MEMBERS of the Oireachtas Health Committee arrived in Limerick for a special meeting at University Hospital today (Monday April 8).

The meeting comes just five days after Health Minister Stephen Donnelly visited UHL where he met with hospital management including regional executive officer Sandra Broderick, HSE CEO Bernard Gloster, consultants, and other clinical leaders.

UHL doctors Alan Watts and John McManus attended the special meeting where the Committee are hearing submissions on how the massive and ongoing overcrowding problem might be tackled.

The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) is concerned that while the situation is particularly severe in UHL, all Irish hospitals are operating outside of the recommended safe occupancy levels.

The INMO said that Ireland has a hospital bed occupancy rate in excess of 97 per cent and, taking into account admitted patients waiting in the ED, the actual rate is 105 per cent while the internationally accepted level is just 85 per cent.

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The rate compromises staff ability to give proper care and increases mortality, the IMO said.

The IMO believe that the closure of services in Ennis and Nenagh were made prematurely, before capacity in UHL was made available.