Sinn Féin TD for Limerick, Maurice Quinlivan, has called on the government to step up and address the failures at UHL and address the trolley crisis.
Today a record 124 patients are on trolleys at the Mid-West Hospital.
Teachta Quinlivan said:
“Today, there are 124 people being treated on trolleys at University Hospital Limerick – a new and shameful record. It is an indictment of the performance of this government and its Health Minister.
“Time and again, record numbers are being treated in this form at the main hospital in the Mid-West and yet we still have no meaningful response from the Minister.
“To have 124 people treated on trolleys is an absolute disgrace. These aren’t just statistics, these are people already nervous about being in a hospital.
“These are people, many seniors, who are entitled to their dignity when attending a hospital. To be left on a trolley in a hallway is not how one should be treated in a prosperous European state.
“Already in 2023, we have had 6,646 people treated on trolleys at University Hospital Limerick. Last year there were 18,012 people treated in this manner.
“So this is not a crisis that has popped up out of the blue. It is ongoing and it is a crisis that has been allowed to fester by the failure of this government to take any meaningful actions to address it.
“At UHL we have capacity and staffing issues. Our trained health professionals are departing the service in high numbers due to the strain such working conditions put on them. I have much sympathy for them.
“These doctors and nurses work hard to care for their patients, but they are not allowed to perform their duties in optimum conditions. Treating someone in a hallway within earshot and sight-line of the next patient is not appropriate.
“We hear fine words from the Minister and the HSE about patient safety being at the centre of all hospital activity. But one cannot ensure the safety of patients while they lie on trolleys in hospital corridors. The risk of infection is greater in an unsanitary corridor.
“These current conditions have been allowed to continue for far too long. It is not appropriate for the patients in the Mid-West and it is not fair on the health professionals working under these conditions. This government has allowed this crisis at UHL to drag on. All available options must be used to increase capacity both in the short term and the longer term.
“At UHL there remains a shortage of non-consultant hospital doctors. At UHL the Emergency Department doesn’t have the capacity to cater for all presentations.
“We need, and the patients and staff deserve, change, and this can only come from an immediate government intervention with an immediate priority being the expediting of the construction of the new 96-bed units at UHL.”