Sir, – Last week, senior members of Government including the Minister for Health, Simon Harris sought to deflect responsibility for the trolley crisis in Limerick onto clinicians working in the Mid-West region.
They have accused clinicians of failing to travel between University Hospital Limerick and the peripheral hospitals in order to treat patients. We refute this in the strongest possible terms.
It is now over a decade since a Department of Health decision was taken to reconfigure acute hospital services in the Mid-West region.
The Mid-West was indeed to be the testing ground for such a health stratagem. We were told that we were lucky to be chosen and that additional resources were to be on the table to effect the changes successfully.
Extra beds were to be provided on the UHL site in Limerick to deal with the centralisation of acute care following on from the closure of A&Es, ICUs and acute intake in the peripheral hospitals.
These extra resources have never been delivered. Indeed regional ICU bed numbers are down on pre-2008 levels! The failure on behalf of the Department of Health to follow through on promises made at the outset of reconfiguration in the Mid -West for the past 10 years has led to the well foreseen worsening conditions suffered by patients and staff on the Limerick campus.
Attacking clinicians, who have steadfastly struggled to maintain the highest standards of care under the most severe underfunded conditions, displays a level of political of cowardice that is simply breathtaking.
We will of course continue to strive for the best care for our patients and abhor the conditions that many of them are forced to bear, but it is important for the general public to know exactly where the blame for this fiasco truly lies. – Yours, etc,
Prof CALVIN COFFEY,
Prof PATRICK DILLON,
Prof EAMON KAVANAGH,
Mr COLIN PEIRCE
Mr TONY MOLONEY
Mr EOGHAN CONDON
Prof AUSTIN STACK,
Dr JAMES SHANNON,
(Consultants UL Hospitals