December 4, 2023
20,000+ on trolleys a ‘monument to the failures of Health Minister’ – Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin TD for Limerick, Maurice Quinlivan, has Government failures have led to 20,027 patients having to be treated on hospital trolleys at University Hospital Limerick in 2023 so far.

Teachta Quinlivan said reaching this unwanted milestone is evidence of the ongoing failures of the Minister for Health. 
Figures released by the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation show 100 patients are currently on trolleys today, and that 20,027 people have been treated on hospital trolleys at University Hospital Limerick since the beginning of 2023.
Speaking today, Maurice Quinlivan TD said:

“Another unwanted historic milestone was achieved at University Hospital Limerick today with confirmation that 20,027 people have been treated so far in 2023 on hospital trolleys and in hospital hallways.

“This is the highest number of people to be treated on trolleys in one year at any hospital in the state ever. The figures vastly exceed 2022’s record 18,012 people treated in this manner, which in turn broke the previous year’s record.
“A failure to get to grips with rising hospitalisations puts great strain on the hospital. With capacity being exceeded daily, there is an inevitable knock-on impact on elective procedures both for inpatients and outpatients.
“When we talk of such large numbers it can be forgotten that each one of those 20,000 is a friend or a family member of someone. Each of those 20,000 is a person who has been assessed, deemed in need of a hospital bed and yet no hospital bed is available to them.

“With the exception of just two months, every month this year has had more people treated on trolleys than in the same month of the previous years. Minister Donnelly has had ample time to address this crisis and yet under his stewardship, things have gotten worse and worse.
“The rising hospitalisation figures are very worrying. Our health service staff are already facing great challenges in the delivery of care and these rising figures add to the extremely challenging environment they find themselves operating in.

“Staff at the hospital are overworked and while new bed capacity has been promised, it remains years away and will only deliver 48 new beds when multiples of that number are needed.

“Today’s figures are shameful. It is a disgrace that we still have these problems at our main Mid-West hospital. It is shameful that our citizens continue to be treated in conditions in which they are deprived of dignity and privacy.
“The consequences of this Government’s decision to deliberately underfund the health services for next year becomes clearer by the day. 20,000 patients at UHL have been on hospital trolleys this year ahead of an extremely difficult winter in our health services.

“It is obvious that the Government has thrown in the towel on health. The government’s failure to tackle this capacity challenge has thousands of patients and staff at extreme risk in hospitals this winter.

“Winter is here and without adequate staffing and capacity numbers it will be a lethal winter for some of our patients.”

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