Sinn Féin TD for Limerick Maurice Quinlivan has called on the government to take immediate steps to address the overcrowding issues at University Hospital Limerick.
Teachta Quinlivan made his comments following the publication of figures showing that 95 people are waiting on trolleys at UHL.
Teachta Quinlivan said:
“The government needs to step up and take action on this. Today there are 95 people waiting on trolleys; the highest ever daily number.
“Year on year, month on month and day on day, UHL has consistently the highest number of patients on trolleys.
“It is not good enough for the people of Limerick and the wider midwest. It is not fair on these patients and it puts great strain on the health professionals and other hospital workers.
“These figures should not be a shock to the Minister for Health. We have been warning him about the rising trolley numbers for over a year.
“We were concerned by his Winter Plan, and we have offered alternative solutions. The Minister needs to engage with the hospital and public representatives in Limerick and outline what emergency steps he will take to address this crisis as a matter of urgency.
“Last month, over 1,200 people were treated on trolleys at UHL. If current rates continue for November, we will exceed that level. Staff cannot continue to work in these overcrowded conditions.
“We have seen a stark rise in Covid cases in recent months and an overcrowded hospital is a perfect location for an infectious virus to spread. The staff on the ground need more support and to date the Minister for Health has failed to offer it.
“As part of the solutions to address the overcrowding and trolley crisis in UHL, we have long been promised a new 96-bed unit. But this is still years away.
“We need the bureaucracy taken away and a commitment to deliver this 96-bed unit as fast as possible. We need an urgent intervention now at the hospital to protect patients and staff alike.
“It is well past time for the Minister to act; people’s health depends on it. We need additional staff and beds.”