Limerick Sinn Féin TD, Maurice Quinlivan, has called for the government to take additional steps to address the overcrowding at the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick.
The Sinn Féin Deputy made the comments after data he received, in response to a Parliamentary Question, which shows that nearly 9,000 people were waiting more than 12 hours for treatment at University Hospital Limerick in 2021.
The Sinn Féin Deputy commented:
“The figures provided to me today are a shocking indictment of the lack of bed capacity and staffing levels at University Hospital Limerick. In 2021, there were 8,720 patients waiting more than 12 hours for treatment at University Hospital Limerick. In 2013, the figure was 4,066.
“These are incredible numbers when you consider the research report by the Royal College of Emergency Medicine in the UK that noted that there is, on average, one excess death per every 67 patients that stay in an Emergency Department for 8 to 12 hours.
“While these are extremely disappointing figures, it is important to recognise that the staff at University Hospital Limerick continue to do an incredible job in extremely difficult circumstances. It is neither fair on them nor their patients to have such long wait times. While there has been investment and limited bed capacity provided in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, there remains both a shortage of beds and of medical professionals at UHL.”
“UL Hospitals Group recognise that there is a need for an additional 68 non-consultant hospital doctors to address shortcomings in prompt treatment. The government needs to ensure that such posts are filled as quickly as possible.”
Commenting on the pending 96-bed unit at UHL, Deputy Quinlivan stated:
“UL Hospitals Group acknowledges that there is a shortage of bed capacity and that they have the lowest inpatient bed capacity when benchmarked per population against other Model 4 Hospitals. They recognise that an additional 200 inpatient beds are needed to bring ULHG in line with the national average.
“This makes it more disappointing that the proposed 96-bed unit will only deliver 48 news beds, while the other 48 will replace other beds at the hospital. I have called for the construction of this unit to be expedited, but it seems the Minister for Health will not do so. There is no denying there is a crisis of capacity at UHL, yet this new unit remains at least 18 months away from completion.”
Concluding his remarks, the Limerick TD added:
“It was recently announced that a specialist team is to be deployed to UHL as part of a plan to ease the crisis in overcrowding. Despite requests, the details of this team’s remit, and make-up remain very vague. I urge the Minister for Health to ensure that they are established quickly and that he commits to their recommendations being published and acted on.”