Emergency team parachute in to tackle UHL ED problems

Ambulances outside University Hospital Limerick.

A MULTI-DISCIPLINARY team, tasked with tackling the overcrowding and trolley crisis in University Hospital Limerick’s (UHL) emergency department has been parachuted in to begin work immediately.

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, and the Chief Executive of the HSE, Bernard Gloster today (Tuesday) announced a support team to address the current pressures on health services in the Mid West region.

The team will begin work immediately and over the next four weeks to help devise a number of actions designed in particular to ease overcrowding and pressures in the emergency department at University Hospital Limerick.

The team is made up of: Ms Grace Rothwell, HSE National Director of Acute Hospitals; Ms Orla Kavanagh, Director of Nursing and Integration at Waterford University Hospital; and retired emergency medicine consultant Dr Fergal Hickey.

The announcement was made as the ED experienced a second day with more that 120 admitted patients waiting for an in-hospital bed through the ED.

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Making the announcement, Minister Donnelly said that he was “concerned about the ongoing pressures on health services in the region, which are seen particularly in the emergency department at University Hospital Limerick”.

“We need to provide re-assurance to the people of the Mid West region and address the very serious pressures on the services. While a number of interventions have been made, I have spoken to the Chief Executive of the need to address this situation immediately. The support team should deliver an improvement for patients quickly.”

HSE boss Bernard Gloster added that “the HSE is conscious of the pressures in various hospitals regarding the number of patients on trolleys awaiting admission”.

“This is recognised by the HSE as a key safety concern and a variety of ongoing assurances are necessary in such situations.

“While challenged in a small number of sites, we are particularly so in Limerick at this time. Patient flow involves the whole of the Health Service and we are using our own internal mechanisms to support the Mid West Region for the next number of weeks.

“This support team will now work with the Regional Executive Officer and her team in Community Healthcare, Public Health and UL Hospitals to manage patient flow and de-escalate the current pressures being experienced.”