Overcrowding at Limerick hospital reaches record level

Figures show 82 patients waiting for admission at University Hospital Limerick

The union called for immediate intervention by Minister for Health Simon Harris

The union called for immediate intervention by Minister for Health Simon Harris

 

A new record for overcrowding in an Irish hospital has been set, with 82 patients waiting for admission to University Hospital Limerick on Wednesday morning.

This surpasses the previous record of 81 patients, set on four previous occasions at UHL over the past year.

The figures from the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation show 47 patients without beds in the hospital’s emergency department, with 35 in wards elsewhere in the hospital. Patients without beds are typically on chairs and trolleys, often in corridors.

The union called for immediate intervention by Minister for Health Simon Harris, including the cancellation of elective work, more homecare packages and emergency funding for extra staff.

Executive council

INMO general secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha said the union’s executive council would meet next Tuesday to consider what “real measures” were needed to protect patients and staff in the absence of Government intervention.

Asked this morning about the overcrowding at UHL, Mr Harris said he had convened a meeting in Dublin on Thursday week of health managers and regional staff to discuss the problem.

Labour health spokesman Alan Kelly told the Oireachtas health committee the situation at UHL was the worst he had ever seen. He pleaded with the minister to deliver an interim package of reliefs before a new 60-bed block is completed at the end of next year.

Mr Reid said the immediate deployment of a scanning machine had been agreed, but Mr Kelly said this response was “pathetic” in light of the crisis existing.

Committee chairman Dr Michael Harty criticised the response of the HSE and the Department to the problems at the hospital as “lacking urgency”.