Limerick Sinn Féin TD, Maurice Quinlivan, has said that the catastrophic failures at University Hospital Limerick cannot continue and that a new approach must be taken at the hospital.
Speaking today, the Sinn Féin Deputy stated:
“Unfortunately, at University Hospital Limerick crisis has become normalised.
“Every month, University Hospital Limerick is recorded as having the most patients being treated on trollies.
“”This month again, an unenviable record was set with 1,823 people treated in this manner. This is the highest number ever, in any month or hospital. In each month of 2022, the number of people treated on trollies has risen considerably.
“The Emergency Department at UHL is under huge stress. In 2021, 8,720 people were waiting more than 12 hours to be treated. This is a dangerous and unacceptable wait time. The Royal College of Emergency Medicine in the UK noted that there is, on average, one excess death per every 67 patients that stay in an Emergency Department for 8-12 hours. I have no doubt that lives have been lost in our local hospital due to these excessive wait times and this is simply not acceptable.
“We cannot continue this way. Yesterday, yet again, it was announced that there would be a reduction in scheduled care with nearly all elective activity, diagnostics and outpatient appointments cancelled.”
Deputy Quinlivan highlighted a recent incident that he was made aware of as an example of how dysfunctional aspects of the hospital have become.
“Yesterday, I was contacted by the family of an elderly patient who suffers from dementia. This elderly woman who had been admitted to the hospital the night before was discovered to be missing yesterday morning. Thankfully she was found by the Gardaí two hours after she had left the hospital.
“The family advised that while security could stop them from entering the hospital, nobody noticed this woman exiting her ward, the hospital building or the hospital grounds. I have subsequently been contacted by other families who have highlighted similar stories about their loved ones. Frontline staff at the hospital can only do so much but they are burned out and lacking capacity. Indeed, figures provided to me by UL Hospital Group showed that they are short 68 non-consultant hospital doctors and at least 200 bed spaces.
“A new 96 bed unit is scheduled, but remains years away from being built. Even when completed it will only provide 48 new beds; with half of the new stock replacing old capacity.”
Concluding his remarks, Deputy Quinlivan stated:
“It is high time for the Minister for Health to step up and address the capacity, staffing and management issues at the hospital. Patients are being failed daily and they are being failed by this government.”