UHL breaks overcrowding records for April

University Hospital Limerick

UNIVERSITY Hospital Limerick was the most overcrowded hospital in the country in April, with 1,971 admitted emergency department (ED) patients waiting on trolleys for an in-hospital bed across the month.

That’s according to figures by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), indicating that UHL broke all previous overcrowding records for the month of April since records began in 2006.

The figure marks a 23 per cent increase on numbers reported by INMO for last year, and a 603 per cent increase since the controversial closure of the emergency departments in St John’s, Ennis, and Nenagh hospitals – which many groups at a local and national level have pinned as a main driver of overcrowding at UHL.

The figure also represents a 1,116 per cent increase since the nursing organisation began keeping a weekday count of trolleys in Irish hospitals in 2006, and a 253 per cent increase on the same month 10 years ago in 2014.

The news comes after a week in which the ED was described as a “death trap” by a medical consultant giving evidence in the inquest into Shannon teenager Aoife Johnson’s death from sepsis at UHL.

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The figures also come at the same time as 123 admitted patients were reported on trolleys in UHL on both Monday and Tuesday of this week.

INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said “the fact that we are seeing this level of overcrowding in April is clear that the HSE have not learned any lessons when it comes to reducing the number of patients on trolleys”.